Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Kartarpur Corridor as the first batch of Sikh pilgrims left for the shrine of Guru Nanak in Pakistan.
"With Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's blessings & firm resolve of the Government, #KartarpurCorridor is open & thousands of people go on a holy pilgrimage. Check out the hashtag #KartarpurCorridor on Your Voice section of Volunteer module on NaMo App. Graphics, tweets & more await you," PM Modi tweeted.
With Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji's blessings & firm resolve of the Government, #KartarpurCorridor is open & thousands of people go on a holy pilgrimage.— narendramodi_in (@narendramodi_in) November 9, 2019
Check out the hashtag #KartarpurCorridor on Your Voice section of Volunteer module on NaMo App. Graphics, tweets & more await you.
Earlier today, PM Modi thanked Mr Khan for "understanding the sentiments of India".
"I thank Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. He understood India's feelings on the Kartarpur Corridor issue, gave respect and, keeping in view those feelings, worked accordingly," PM Modi told a gathering at a Border Security Force camp at Shikhaar Masiahan, 8 km from the Dera Baba Nanak gurdwara.
PM Modi inaugurated the passenger terminal building, also known as Integrated Check Post, where pilgrims will get clearance to travel through the newly-built corridor. Before the inauguration ceremony, the Prime Minister offered prayers at Ber Sahib Gurudwara at Sultanpur Lodhi.
The 4.5 km-long corridor connects Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur with Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, a small town about 4 km from the International Border, located at Narowal district of Pakistan's Punjab province. It is the place where the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak is believed to have spent the last 18 years of his life.
"Today is a historic moment for the Sikh community. Opening of the corridor will help in relations between Pakistan and India," Geo News quoted former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying after he arrived in Pakistan, news agency ANI reported.
The corridor will facilitate visa-free movement but Indian pilgrims are required to carry their passports and will have to just obtain a permit to visit the Darbar Sahib gurdwara in Kartarpur.
Among the first group of 550 pilgrims who are travelling to Kartarpur are former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, actor-politician Sunny Deol, and Union Ministers Hardeep Puri and Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, who too was given political clearance to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib by the foreign ministry on Thursday, reached the Integrated Check Post.
"After the construction of this corridor, Gurudwara Darbar Sahib (in Kartarpur, Pakistan) will become easily accessible to Sikh pilgrims. I express my gratitude to the Punjab Government, Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and every partner who helped built this corridor in due time," PM Modi said.
Pakistan held a separate event on the other side of the border, with Mr Khan declaring it open from the other end of the Kartarpur Corridor.