About a week before the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, a four-kilometre stretch of road between India and Pakistan, that will allow Sikh pilgrims from India to visit one of their shrines in Pakistan, Indian security and intelligence agencies have reportedly issued warnings about terror training camps operating in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
The Kartarpur Corridor connects India’s Dera Baba Nanak Sahib Gurudwara in the Gurdaspur district with Pakistan’s Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur.
A “substantial number of men and women are reportedly camping and undergoing training,” The Times of India cited intelligence agency sources as saying.
The sources claim that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor on 8 November poses a serious challenge in the form of “hostile elements” in Pakistan possibly coming into contact with Indian Sikh pilgrims during their visit to the shrine.
The intelligence agencies are also reportedly worried about Pakistan’s mobile telephone network spilling over into Indian territory and India’s paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) has allegedly asked police in Punjab state to ban the possession of Pakistani SIM cards.
Islambad has yet to comment on the report, but Pakistani authorities have repeatedly denied the existence of terror training camps in the country.
Pakistan and India signed an agreement on 24 October to open the Kartarpur Corridor to allow Sikh pilgrims from both countries to visit their shrines.
Though both countries have admitted that they still have some differences regarding the corridor, a decision was taken to sign the agreement in the "larger interest" of the Sikh community.
Pakistan's Kartarpur, which means 'place of God’, holds immense significance for Sikhs as it was established by Sikhism founder Guru Nanak. After crisscrossing the Indian subcontinent and visiting several countries over a period of 22 years (1499-1521), Guru Nanak settled in Kartarpur with his family. Gurdwara Darbar Sahib is where he is believed to have died in 1539.