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The launch of Kartarpur corridor project between India and Pakistan was marred by a controversy on Monday as both the ruling Congress and the opposition Akali Dal vied to take credit for the project. It also led to a new point of conflict between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Amarinder said that Sidhu's decision to go to Pakistan for the ground-breaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor was "his way of thinking" but he personally could not think of going there while Indian soldiers and civilians were being killed by them.
On Tuesday, Sidhu arrived in Lahore to take part in the ceremony. He thanked Pakistan PM Imran Khan for making this corridor possible, which he said will help promote peace between the two countries.
Here is all you need to know about the Kartarpur corridor project:
- Kartarpur corridor would facilitate Sikh pilgrims in visiting the 16th-century Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
- The 4-km-long corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Narowal in Pakistan. The corridor will provide visa-free access to the Indian Sikh pilgrims to the gurdwara.
- The opening of a corridor was a long-pending demand of the Sikh community.
- Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had first suggested the corridor during a trip to Lahore in 1999.
- The gurdwara, on the banks of Ravi river, has historical significance for Sikhs as Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, spent 18 years there. Established by the first Sikh Guru in 1522, the shrine is about three-four km from the international border.
- The decision to build the corridor — from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the international border — was taken by the Union Cabinet on November 22.
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Monday laid the foundation stone of Kartarpur corridor.
- Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor on the Pakistani side on November 28.
- Vice President Naidu called it "beginning of a new chapter" in bilateral ties and said it will act as a "unifier" to build bridges across old chasms.
- Terming Kartarpur as a "corridor of infinite possibilities", Sidhu said that such initiatives would promote peace and erase "enmity" between India and Pakistan.