Pakistan and India begin construction of 'corridor of peace'

India and Pakistan are set to inaugurate the construction of a corridor to facilitate hassle free cross-bord...

Posted: Nov 28, 2018 12:33 PM
Updated: Nov 28, 2018 12:33 PM

India and Pakistan are set to inaugurate the construction of a corridor to facilitate hassle free cross-border travel for religious devotees -- a rare step to improve ties between the two South Asian foes even as deep-seated divisions continue to obstruct progress in long-stalled peace talks.

The Indian cabinet approved the building and development of the so called Kartarpur corridor last week, a five kilometer (3.1 miles) long passage to connect two Sikh temples on either side of the border between India and Pakistan due to open in 2019. The temple in Kartarpur in Pakistan is among the holiest sites for Sikhs.

Asia

Belief, religion and spirituality

Continents and regions

India

International relations

International relations and national security

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

National security

Pakistan

Religious groups

Sikhism

Society

South Asia

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Unrest, conflicts and war

The laying of the road's first foundation stone in Pakistan, Wednesday, comes days after the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai terror attacks, a four day terror siege in which 164 people were killed. Indian intelligence blamed Pakistan based terrorists for orchestrating the attacks. Ever since, it's been a major bone of contention in any move to talk peace between the two neighbors.

"This corridor will be a historical landmark between India and Pakistan and will also boost tourism as more pilgrims would visit the holy shrine throughout the year between two countries," said an Indian press release.

The road link, dubbed the "corridor of peace" in local media, is the latest attempt to improve cultural ties between the two countries who have harbored resentment for decades, after the bloody riots which followed the creation of the modern states of India and Pakistan following the departure of the British colonial government in 1947.

"Opening the corridor will allow Sikh Yatrees ease of access for their most reverential place of worship which has been their longstanding demand. This is also reflective of the importance and primacy that Pakistan gives to all minorities," said the statement released by the Pakistan Foreign Affairs Ministry.

But while the move has been welcomed by many as a positive step, the two countries remain divided, especially over the future of the disputed Kashmir region.

Even as the Indian cabinet approved the building of the corridor, Delhi on Wednesday dismissed the resumption of bilateral talks.

Earlier, Pakistan invited Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend a regional summit in Pakistan next year.

Responding to Pakistan's invitation, Modi's foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj rejected the idea of talks. "Bilateral dialogue and the Kartarpur corridor are two different things," said Swaraj at a press conference in Hyderabad. "The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, the dialogue can start."

The long and winding road

The Sikh temple -- also known as a Gurdwara -- of Darbar Sahib is considered holy by the Sikh community. The Gurdwara was home to Guru Nanak Dev, one of the leaders of the faith for 18 years and he died there in 1539.

Sikhs from India have traveled to Pakistan to pay homage at the shrine for years but the trip is a difficult one to make due to a contentious relationship and security concerns.

The corridor will enable devotees to travel from the border town of Gurdaspur and across the international border into Pakistan without visas.

The inauguration of the corridor on the Indian side took place Monday and Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to inaugurate construction at the Pakistani end later today.

Setbacks to talks

Over the years, multiple attempts have been made by both administrations to reconcile and restart bilateral talks. Back in 2014, Modi invited then Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony and later visited him in Pakistan on his birthday in December, 2015. But a terrorist attack on an Indian military installation in September 2016 that Delhi blamed on what it said were Pakistan-linked terrorists overshadowed these efforts. Pakistan denied any role in the attack.

More recently, in September, India canceled a meeting between Swaraj and her Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, citing the killing of a soldier by militants associated with Pakistan as the reason for pulling out.

Soon after, Khan hit back on Twitter saying, "Disappointed at the arrogant & negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue. However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture."

Terre Haute
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 73°
Robinson
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 68°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 75°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
Casey
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 72°
Brazil
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
Marshall
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
July Heat
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 143185

Reported Deaths: 6923
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook905364565
Lake9719416
DuPage9032470
Kane7703268
Will6686319
Winnebago303094
McHenry203297
St. Clair1874135
Kankakee127265
Kendall95620
Madison93268
Rock Island92529
Champaign86012
Boone58621
DeKalb55018
Peoria48728
Sangamon42631
Jackson33219
Randolph2857
Stephenson2705
Ogle2614
McLean26013
Clinton23617
Macon23222
LaSalle21617
Union18819
Whiteside18615
Coles16417
Grundy1624
Iroquois1575
Warren1360
Knox1300
Cass1292
Morgan1283
Monroe12713
Tazewell1278
Williamson1154
Jefferson10717
McDonough10015
Lee972
Adams871
Henry841
Pulaski740
Marion650
Vermilion652
Douglas520
Macoupin513
Perry511
Unassigned480
Jasper467
Montgomery441
Christian434
Livingston432
Jo Daviess421
Jersey351
Woodford332
Ford311
Bureau292
Menard250
Fayette233
Alexander220
Mason220
Wabash220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Mercer200
Piatt190
Washington190
Crawford180
Hancock181
Shelby181
Moultrie170
Fulton150
Clark140
Franklin140
Logan140
Wayne141
Bond131
Schuyler130
Effingham121
Cumberland110
Massac110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
Marshall80
Lawrence70
De Witt60
Hamilton50
Richland40
White40
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Pike20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Out of IL10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 45594

Reported Deaths: 2640
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11329679
Lake4847239
Elkhart304143
Allen2649110
St. Joseph183065
Cass16369
Hamilton1463100
Hendricks136699
Johnson1232118
Porter68036
Madison64263
Tippecanoe6338
Clark61644
Bartholomew57844
Howard54256
LaPorte53425
Kosciusko4842
LaGrange4566
Jackson4543
Noble43428
Delaware42548
Boone42142
Hancock41835
Shelby41425
Vanderburgh4136
Marshall4093
Floyd36244
Morgan31831
Grant28526
Montgomery28520
Clinton2792
Dubois2596
White25710
Monroe24428
Decatur24332
Henry23515
Lawrence22924
Vigo2228
Harrison20822
Dearborn20322
Warrick19629
Greene18431
Miami1802
Jennings16910
Putnam1658
DeKalb1574
Scott1547
Daviess13816
Orange13323
Wayne1276
Franklin1248
Steuben1232
Perry1188
Ripley1127
Carroll1082
Jasper1072
Wabash1072
Fayette957
Newton9410
Whitley794
Randolph764
Huntington702
Starke683
Jay670
Wells671
Fulton661
Jefferson641
Washington641
Knox620
Clay594
Pulaski591
Rush563
Benton470
Adams451
Sullivan451
Owen431
Gibson412
Brown381
Blackford352
Posey320
Spencer301
Tipton301
Crawford290
Fountain282
Switzerland240
Martin220
Parke220
Ohio140
Warren141
Union130
Vermillion130
Pike60
Unassigned0192