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India, Pak hold 'cordial' meet on Kartarpur corridor, agree on early launch

Press Trust of India  |  Attari/New Delhi 

and Thursday agreed to work towards expeditiously launching the corridor, a decision taken at a meeting held after the recent escalation in tensions between the two

The first meeting between the two sides to finalise the modalities for the proposed corridor linking Gurdaspur in with the in Pakistan's took place in a cordial environment, a joint statement said.

The two delegations met on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border.

has sought visa-free access to the shrine, and suggested that 5,000 pilgrims be allowed to visit every day.

There should not be any additional encumbrances in the form of any additional documentation or procedures, S C L Das, in the who headed the Indian team, told reporters.

He said as a first step, the two sides agreed that the passport shall be the identification document for the pilgrims.

is expected to respond to Indian suggestions at the next meeting, scheduled for April 2 at Wagah on the side of the border.

Technical experts from both sides will meet earlier, on March 19.

Kartarpur Sahib marks the place where Sikhism's founder, Guru Nanak Dev, spent the final years of his life. hopes that the special border crossing for pilgrims will open before in November.

"The first meeting to discuss the modalities and the draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the was held today at Attari, India, in a cordial environment," the joint statement issued after the meeting said.

"Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor," it said.

The meeting took place amid heightened tensions between the two neighbours following India's air strike on a terrorist training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed, in retaliation to a JeM attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama that killed 40 jawans.

An Indian told reporters in that the meeting did not mark the resumption of the dialogue with

The 20-member Pakistani team was headed by Mohammad Faisal, (and SAARC) of On his return, Faisal tweeted,"Pakistan Kartarpur Delegation returns after constructive discussion in a cordial environment."

From our side, we have pressed for at least 5,000 pilgrims per day to be allowed to visit the holy shrine in the initial phase, the Indian said.

This will include not only Indian nationals but people of Indian origin as well, Das added.

India has asked Pakistan to allow pilgrims to travel on foot, if they wish. It also urged that another 10,000 pilgrims be allowed access on festivals like and Gurupurab.

India plans to create infrastructure for that number on its side of the corridor, the Pakistani team was told.

Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the new border crossing.

Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the border.

M Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister had on November 26 laid the corridor's foundation stone in Gurdaspur.

Two days later, Pakistan's laid the foundation stone at Narowal, 125 km from

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 14 2019. 21:30 IST