India Reschedules Kartarpur Meet, Concerned Over Separatists On Pak Panel

The government said the Katarpur facility "should not be used for anti-India propaganda" and Pakistan must clarify how it would like bridge the "substantive gaps" between the two countries on pilgrims' movement to the shrine

India Reschedules Kartarpur Meet, Concerned Over Separatists On Pak Panel

Officials of India and Pakistan had met on March 14 to discuss Kartarpur Corridor

Highlights

  • Next meet on Kartarpur after Pakistan responds to issues raised: India
  • Kartarpur Corridor must be safe, secure, smooth for pilgrims: India
  • Regret India's decision to reschedule the meeting: Pakistan
New Delhi:

India today summoned the Pakistan deputy high commissioner and conveyed objections over the presence of Khalistani separatists in the panel set up by his country on Kartarpur, sources said. In a statement, the external affairs ministry rescheduled the meeting on April 2 between India and Pakistan, to discuss the modalities of opening the Kartarpur Corridor

"It has been conveyed that the next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan's response," the statement said. 

Questioning Pakistan's "intentions", the ministry said that the presence of people like Maninder Singh Tara, a Khalistani leader and Gopal Singh Chawla, allegedly close to Laskar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed, will cause "disharmony."

The government said that the Katarpur facility "should not be used for anti-India propaganda" and Pakistan must clearly say how it would like to bridge the "substantive gaps" between the two countries on pilgrims' movement to the shrine. 

Reacting to the cancellation of the April 2 meeting, the Pakistan Foreign Office said it "regrets the Indian decision" to reschedule the meeting. "Last minute postponement without seeking views from Pakistan and especially after the productive technical meeting on March 19 is incomprehensible," the country's foreign office said on Twitter.

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In the last meeting between the officials of the two countries there were "big gaps in positions", sources told NDTV. India had asked Pakistan to allow 5000 pilgrims a day and 10,000- plus on special days but Pakistan agreed to only 500 -700 pilgrims per day. The latter is also opposed to pilgrims moving on foot to the shrine.

"The Indian government remains committed to realizing the long-pending demand of the Indian pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib, using the corridor in a safe, secure, smooth and easy manner," the statement said.

Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing, linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur district.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on November 26 last year laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur Corridor.