The US State Department on Tuesday said that it was “incredibly supportive” of anything that increases “people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan”.
During a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus was asked to comment on the Kartarpur Corridor: “Yeah, that was certainly a good news report, wasn’t it? We encourage it,” she said.
“Anything that increases people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan is something that we’re incredibly supportive of,” she added.
Ortagus’ comments follow the latest talks between the two sides — which took place on July 14 — on the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims. Pakistan claimed to have made headway on “80 per cent and beyond” issues in the much-delayed second round of talks.
The talks were held at the Wagah border where a 13-member Pakistan team was led by Saarc and South Asia desk Director General and Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, while an eight-member Indian team was headed by interior joint secretary S.C.L. Das.
The corridor, a peace initiative of the Pakistani government, is being constructed to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The corridor will provide Indian Sikhs visa-free access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan.
To work out modalities for the opening of Kartarpur opening, a Pakistani delegation on March 14 visited Attari where a meeting was held with Indian officials. While the next round of talks was scheduled for April 2 at Wagah, India pulled out of it over reservations that pro-Khalistan activists such as Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh had been included in Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee — a body that works for facilitating Sikh pilgrims.
The Indian Ministry for External Affairs on that occasion had stated: “The next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response.” Pakistan’s FO had then regretted the Indian decision to cancel the meeting.