NEW DELHI: India on Thursday urged Pakistan to show ‘some flexibility’on the Kartarpur Corridor to ensure that the celebrations of the upcoming 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev are conducted smoothly.
“The third joint secretary level meeting that took place on September 4 at Attari in Punjab. This was basically to discuss the modalities and also finalise the modalities for the facilitation of pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told media here.
“We had hoped that all pending issues will be resolved. However, we realise that Pakistan was quite inflexible during the talks and there are three instances where we approached them to show some flexibility,” he added.
Pakistan on Thursday said that pilgrims will be charged USD 20 as service charge for visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara.
Kumar told media that this was “strongly opposed” by India.
“They (Pakistan also did not agree to the initial number (10,000 pilgrims which we had proposed to visit Kartarpur Sahib during the special occasion. That was not agreed to by them. They cited some constraints in infrastructure, but we did request them to show some flexibility on this. And the third was the presence of our protocol officer, who should accompany the pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib every day,” Kumar said.
On all these three counts, India did not get a favourable response, Kumar stated.
“We remain committed to the project. We are on schedule. We are confident that all our projects will be completed before the scheduled time. We have urged Pakistan to show some flexibility. It is involving the sensitivity of the people,” Kumar said.
“It is a long-pending demand and we have urged them that Pakistan has to show a little bit of flexibility on this matter so that we can proceed without any hindrance in the run-up to the celebrations involving 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji,” he added.
Earlier today Pakistan said that pilgrims will be charged USD 20 as service charge for visiting the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara.
Earlier this month, India and Pakistan had failed to finalise an agreement on the Kartarpur corridor following differences over key issues including Islamabad’s insistence on charge a fee for allowing pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib.
During the meeting, both the sides also agreed on visa-free travel by Indian pilgrims to the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan using the corridor. Moreover, it will allow as many as 5,000 pilgrims to visit the Gurdwara every day.