Holding talks on Kartarpur does not mean resumption of dialogue: India tells Pak

Last Updated: Thu, Mar 14, 2019 20:08 hrs

 (Punjab) [India], Mar 14 (ANI): India on Thursday made it clear to Pakistan that initiating talks on modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor does not mean the resumption of any bilateral dialogue between the two countries.

India’s views were conveyed to Pakistan during the first meeting here to discuss the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Corridor.

“Today what we had was a meeting on the issue of the Kartarpur Corridor, with an objective that pilgrims can have easy access to Kartarpur Sahib... This does not mean the resumption of any bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. Our position on the dialogue is very clear,” said Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

He was addressing the media after the talks for which an 18-member Pakistani delegation is here.

The Indian delegation was led by S.C.L. Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs while the Pakistan delegation was headed by Mohammad Faisal, DG (SA and SAARC) of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Our expectations were made clear to the Pakistan side that we would like them not to allow any miscreant. We would not like them to allow any kind of activity which would be against the spirit with which pilgrims would be going to Kartarpur Gurudwara,” Mittal said.

A joint statement issued after the talks said both sides held “detailed and constructive” discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Corridor.

The two sides decided to hold a meeting of the technical experts on March 19, which will be followed by another round of talks on the issue on April 2.

The process to open the Kartarpur Corridor, a long-pending demand of Indian devotees, was initiated some months back.

It has been a matter of discussion since 1999 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee undertook a bus journey to Lahore.

It also figured in discussions in composite dialogue, where Pakistan was asked to make Kartarpur part of 1974 protocol as one of the holy shrines in 2005, sources said. (ANI)