11:43 GMT +318 June 2019
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    In this July 21, 2015 file photo, Indian and Pakistani flags are lowered during a daily retreat ceremony at the India-Pakistan joint border check post of Attari-Wagah near Amritsar, India

    India, Pakistan to Finalize Agreement to Ease Border Crossing For Sikh Pilgrims

    © AP Photo / Prabhjot Gill, file
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    India and Pakistan have started work on their respective sides to complete the Kartarpur Corridor project as soon as possible. The corridor would make it easier for Sikh pilgrims to visit the Darbar Sahib shrine in Narowal, Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev, the first spiritual mentor of the Sikh community, spent the last few years of his life.

    Pakistan has officially shared with India a draft agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor which will pave the way for Sikh pilgrims from India to visit the revered Darbar Sahib Gurudwara in Narowal Pakistan without much hassle at the border.

    "The Government of Pakistan also invited the Government of India to urgently send a delegation to Islamabad to negotiate and finalize the Agreement", a statement of Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs read.

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    Pakistan has also appointed the director-general (South Asia & SAARC) as the focal person on Pakistan's side and requested India to designate a focal person at its end.

    The Kartarpur Corridor would connect the Sikh Shrine Dera Baba Nanak in India with the historic Darbar Sahib, Narowal, in the town of Kartarpur, Pakistan. Darbar Sahib is where Guru Nanak Dev, the first guru of the Sikhs, spent the last few years of his life.

    Last week, Amarinder Singh, chief minister of the Indian state of Punjab, had sought a waiver of passports for Indian pilgrims visiting Kartarpur, arguing that "most common people, especially in rural areas, do not possess passports".

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    Singh favored any other valid government document, such as the Aadhaar card for identification.

    The construction of the Kartarpur Corridor is the only visible positive development between India-Pakistan bilateral relations in the recent past. The two South Asian neighbours are going through one of the worst phases of their bilateral relations, owing to accusations and counter-accusations of cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations.

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    bilateral cooperation, Sikh, border clashes, pilgrims, India, Pakistan
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