WASHINGTON: The US on Saturday welcomed the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, saying that it sees the initiative as a positive example of neighbours working together for mutual benefit.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday formally inaugurated the historic corridor to facilitate visa-free entry of Indian Sikh pilgrims to one of Sikhism's holiest shrines in Pakistani town of Narowal.
He welcomed the first batch of the Indian Sikh pilgrims who entered Pakistan through the corridor which links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Punjab's Gurdaspur.
The US 'welcomes the opening of a new border crossing' between India and Pakistan, the Kartarpur corridor, US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a video posted on her official twitter handle.
"We see this as a positive example of neighbours working together for mutual benefit. The newly opened corridor is a step towards promoting greater religious freedom," she said.
Ortagus also sent her best wishes to the pilgrims crossing the border for the 550th birth anniversary of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev.
"It allows Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib, an important Sikh house of worship just inside the Pakistan border.
This impressive project will transform a remote three-acre site across a sensitive international boundary, Ortagus said.
"Congratulations to India and Pakistan on this initiative, and our best wishes to the pilgrims making the crossing for the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak's birth," Ortagus said.
Khan inaugurated the corridor by removing a curtain that was lifted by hot air balloons in the presence of thousands of Sikhs from across the world including India.
A huge 'kirpan' (dagger) was displayed at the inauguration site.
Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life at Kartarpur Sahib, which has now become the world's largest Sikh Gurdwara.