'Pakistan showed limited focus in Kartarpur talks'

NEW DELHI, MARCH 17: During the talks with a Pakistani delegation on Kartarpur corridor on Thursday, India found that the neighbouring country has a very "narrow" and "limited focus" on the project contrary to perception that Islamabad has a very generous approach towards it, official sources said.

They said Pakistan wanted to introduce a permit system coupled with a fee for pilgrims wanting to take the corridor to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistani town of Kartarpur.

Indian and Pakistani officials held their first meeting on the corridor at Attari on Thursday to finalise the modalities for the corridor linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib with Gurdaspur district in Punjab.

Serious differences between the two sides emerged including on the number of Indian pilgrims who should be allowed to visit the gurdwara — the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev.

"We found that a permit system as well as fees are being introduced for the pilgrims to use the corridor which is in contrast to Pakistan's perceived generosity on the project," a source said.

Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district. Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.

The sources said India was also concerned over plans by some Sikh groups in the US, Canada and Australia to organise a convention in Pakistan to draw support for "referendum 2020” under which they are seeking support for a separate Khalistan.

They said New Delhi is conveying to the countries, where pro-Khalistani activities are taking place, that talking about separatism in another country will tantamount to interference in internal matters of India.

They said India is of the view that the noise being made by a small group of people does not represent the views of the Sikh community and that people agitating for referendum are not citizens of India. 

IANS

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