India on Saturday said a decision to re-open the Kartarpur corridor would be taken in accordance with the protocols relating COVID-19 and easing of restrictions.
The comments by spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs Anurag Srivastava came in the wake of Pakistan’s proposal to reopen the corridor which was shut in March in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
In November last year, the two countries threw open the corridor linking Dera Baba Sahib in Gurdaspur in India and Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, in a historic people-to-people initiative.
“As you are aware, movement was suspended in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. We remain in touch with all concerned authorities including ministries of home affairs and health and family welfare,” Mr Srivastava said, responding to a media query on the issue.
“A decision on re-opening of the corridor would be taken in accordance with the COVID-19 protocols and easing of restrictions,” he said.
Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located in Pakistan’s Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
It is the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, who had spent the last 18 years of his life in Kartarpur.
In his comments, Mr Srivastava also said that Pakistan is yet to construct a bridge at Budhi Ravi channel as promised last year.
“At the time of opening of the Kartarpur corridor last year and in the bilateral agreement signed in October 2019, it was decided that both sides shall establish requisite infrastructure including construction of a bridge at Budhi Ravi channel at the earliest for safe and hassle-free movement of pilgrims,” he said.
“One year hence, Pakistan is yet to construct the bridge while it is ready at our end. A technical meeting with Pakistan was also facilitated and two teams met on August 27. There is, however, no progress on part of Pakistan,” the MEA spokesperson said.
The Kartarpur corridor was thrown open in the midst of heightened tension between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
The relations between the two countries nosedived after India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated it into two union territories.