Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

February 12, 2019

The Centre has designated Dera Baba Nanak land Check post in Gurdaspur district of Punjab as an authorised immigration checkpoint to exit and entry for visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan. The Chief Immigration Officer has been appointed as the Civil Authority for this purpose.

What is the Kartarpur Sahab Gurudwara?

  • The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur or the Kartarpur Sahib is a gurdwara located in Kartarpur in the Narowal district of Pakistan
  • The present Gurdwara is located at the place where Guru Nanak had passed away
  • Guru Nanak had settled at Kartarpur after his missionary work and lived for 18 years till his death on 22 November 1539
  • The Maharaja of Patiala, Sardar Bhupindar Singh donated Rs.1,35,600 in 1925 through which the present building was built.
  • The last copies of the original Guru Granth Sahib is also present in this site
  • The shrine is located close to the River Ravi and also near the border of India and Pakistan.
  • The shrine is regarded as a very holy site for the Sikhs. However, due to Indo-Pakistan political problems Sikhs from India couldn’t visit this site properly, but it was visible from the Indian side of the border. They used to gather in huge numbers in the Indian side of the border and do a darshan of the Gurdwara.

What is the Dera Baba Nanak Sahib?

  • The Dera Baba Nanak is a city in Gurdaspur district in Punjab of India
  • Three famous Gurudwaras are present here – Sri Darbar Sahib, Sri Chola Sahib and Tahli Shahib
  • From here the pilgrims could catch a glimpse of Kartarpur Sahab Gurdwara in Pakistan

What is the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor?

  • The Kartarpur Corridor or the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor is a proposed corridor that will run across the border of India and Pakistan and connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
  • It was first proposed in the year 1998 by the then Indian PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif, but couldn’t mature. After the 1999 bus diplomacy, Pakistan even took the step of renovating the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. However, the Kargil War spoiled the idea
  • The idea of the corridor was then put up many times since then. Dr. Manmohan Singh pitched for it in 2004, the then Indian Foreign minister pitched for it in 2008, where he proposed for a “visa-free” travel to Kartarpur. However, the 2008 Mumbai Attacks deteriorated the diplomatic relations.
What was the Debate About Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Being Constructed Now?
  • In August 2018, Navjot Singh Sidhu created controversy by attending the oath-taking ceremony of Pakistani PM Imran Khan.
  • Sidhu also hugged Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa which created further controversy. Sidhu later clarified that he had hugged Bajwa because the latter had said that Islamabad would grant Indians the access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
  • After long delegation, India decided to develop 4 km stretch of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. The decision was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22.
  • The foundation stone for the corridor was laid by the Indian vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh on November 26.
  • On the Pakistan side, Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the corridor on November 28.
  • A bridge will be constructed over River Ravi and there shall be no need for passports or visas for the Indian pilgrims.
Comment

The development of India depends upon the development of South Asia, which in turn depends on the better relation of India and Pakistan. This makes it almost compulsory for both the nations to maintain good diplomacy with each other and what better way than increasing people to people cross-cultural contact. This step will actually go a long way in bettering the long standing bad relation between the two South Asian nations.

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