08:33 GMT +319 December 2018
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    Indian Sikh pilgrims pose for a photograph as they wave from a train bound for Pakistan at a railway station in Amritsar on November 15, 2013

    India Begins Construction of Historic Religious Corridor to Pakistan

    © AFP 2018 / NARINDER NANU
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    Comparing the India - Pakistan corridor linking two Sikh pilgrimage sites to the Berlin Wall, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it will act as a bridge between the two neighbouring countries.

    Fulfilling a long-standing commitment made to the Sikh religious community, the Narendra Modi-led government on Monday started the construction of the historic corridor that would link two major pilgrimage sites in India and Pakistan. The foundation stone of the corridor was laid by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, along with Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh. The work on the Pakistan side of the corridor is set to begin on the 28 November.

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    The Indian side of the corridor will start from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, Punjab, up to the international boundary. The remaining construction up to Gurudwara Kartapur Sahib will be undertaken by Pakistan.

    The vice president welcomed the Kartarpur Corridor as a unifier that would promote a deeper understanding and a new resolve to connect the people of India and Pakistan.

    "I am very happy to be present on a historic day today to lay the foundation for a project we have been dreaming of for a long time. It is a day that promises to bring us closer to the Guru we all revere," Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said during the ground-breaking ceremony.

    Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who belongs to the Sikh community, thanked Indian Prime Minister Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan for the initiative. He suggested that there should be no visa or passport for travel via the corridor.

    "Today is a big day. I thank the Prime Minister who has committed to the cause and thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan who agreed for this," Amarinder Singh said while speaking on the occasion.

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    The construction of the Kartarpur Corridor indicates a thaw in the relationship between India and Pakistan, two south Asian neighbours that are going through one of the worst phases of bilateral relations owing to accusations and counter-accusations of cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations. 

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    Tags:
    religious center, pilgrimage routes, foundation, bilateral relations, Venkaiah Naidu, Narendra Modi, Imran Khan, India, Pakistan
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