Kartarpur Corridor

The Kartarpur Corridor is a, 4.7 kilometers long, visa-free border crossing and secure corridor, connecting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to the border with India.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, also called Kartarpur Sahib, is a gurdwara in Kartarpur, Narowal District, Punjab province of Pakistan.
It is built on the historic site where First Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev ji, settled and assembled the Sikh community after his missionary travels.
Kartarpur corridor also connects two important Sikh shrines Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak in India.
After the death of Guru Nanak in 1539, The changing course of the River Rabi eventually washed away the habitation in Kartarpur.
A new habitation was formed, representing the present-day Dera Baba Nanak on the left bank of the Ravi river.

History of Kartarpur Corridor

In 1998 , Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan discussed opening of Kartrpur corridor but the Kargil War stopped the Kartarpur- Dera Baba Nanak corridor initiative.
In November 2018, both countries laid foundation stone for Kartarpur corridor.
In August 2019, India and Pakistan agreed to allow visa-free travel of Indian citizens to Kartarpur and inaugurated Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur corridor.

Pakistan to reopen Kartarpur Corridor

Why in News

On June 27th , Pakistan foreign minister said that Pakistan is preparing to reopen the Kartarpur Sahib corridor for all Sikh pilgrims on June 29th. Corridor was temporarily closed in March due to Covid-19 pandemic. India said it would evaluate the offer before making any proclamation, and that Pakistan was trying to create a “mirage of goodwill”

Diplomatic Spat over Spy Allegation

This reduction in staff size came after Pakistan detained 2 officials of Indian Embassy in Islamabad for 10 hours in a case of hit and run.
Prior to this India expelled 2 Pakistani officials from Pakistan High commission over charges of involvement in spying.

On June 24 India said it will reduce the staff strength in Pakistan High commission in New Delhi by 50% and would also recall half of its staff from Indian High commission in Islamabad.

India’s Concerns

India is cautious with the surprising reaction of Pakistan and have four major concerns regarding opening of Kartarpur corridor.

✓Terror camps near Kartarpur

✓Spread of Covid-19

✓Dual face of Pakistan

Terror Camps near Kartarpur Sahib

Indian Intelligence agencies have spotted terrorist training activities near the border district of Narowal in Punjab province Pakistan, where The Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is situated in same district.
Pakistan may infiltrate terrorists from Kartarpur corridor as Sikh pilgrims.

Covid-19

Punjab province of Pakistan is badly affected by Covid-19 pandemic. Reopening of Kartarpur corridor at this time can increase the spread of the disease on Indian side.

Dual Face of Pakistan

On one hand Pakistan is trying to start peace process through soft diplomacy on the other hand Pakistan is trying to defame India as exporter of terrorism.
Indian Interest
At present when India is occupied on its eastern borders with China, soft diplomacy and dialogue with Pakistan can be useful in easing out tension at Western border of India.
It will also telegraph India’s intention and determination to keep its relations with the two countries separate despite their apparent efforts to make common cause over Ladakh and Kashmir.

Indian Interest

In recent past Pakistan has been trying to portray that India is not willing to take the peace process forward.
Reopening will deprive Islamabad of the opportunity to go to town with the cry that India has once again rejected Pakistan’s hand of friendship.