NEW DELHI: Indian and Pakistani officials will meet on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on Thursday morning to discuss and finalise the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor, which would give Indian Sikhs easy access to the shrine ahead of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November.
India has also proposed that a technical level discussion on the alignment of the corridor be held on the same day on the sidelines of this meeting. This is likely to be followed up by an Indian delegation visiting Islamabad on March 28.
The talks come weeks after the Pulwama massacre and the Indian air strike against terrorist targets in Pakistan, followed by a Pakistani intrusion which led to the downing of an Indian MiG 21 aircraft.
Indian officials reiterated that the talks were in no way a precursor to a formal peace dialogue between the two governments, saying this could only happen once Pakistan took verifiable action against terrorists, including the Jaish-e-Mohammad.
On Wednesday, sources said that the Land Ports Authority of India had identified 50 acres for the Indian side of the corridor, which would be developed in two phases. Phase I, which will be ready before the anniversary, includes a state-of-the-art Green Passenger Terminal Complex with 40 immigration and 12 customs counters capable of processing 5,000 pilgrims per day.
Robust security protocols, including CCTV cameras, will be backed up by the BSF along the border and other security agencies on the Indian side, which will also have a 300 feet high Indian flag. On Wednesday, Pakistan rued the fact that India had not invited Pakistani journalists for the talks at Attari.
For the pilgrims
The entry gate will be shaped like a lotus and have security counters
The fully air-conditioned building can seat 2,000 pilgrim inside
Phase-II will have space for a fire station, hospital and police station
A 300-feet national monumental flag will be set up at the border