India wants Pak to address misgivings before next Kartarpur meet - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Saturday, March 30, 2019

India wants Pak to address misgivings before next Kartarpur meet


India wants Pak to address misgivings before next Kartarpur meet

Sandeep Dikshit
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, March 29

India on Friday summoned the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner to register its objection to Pakistan’s co-opting of India-baiting elements in a 10-member committee for the Kartarpur Corridor.

“It has been conveyed that the next meeting on the modalities can be scheduled at an appropriate time after receiving Pakistan’s response,’’ said government sources.

India is objecting to the nomination of Gopal Singh Chawla, Tara Singh, Besant Singh, Maninder Singh and Kuljeet Singh all of whom were said to have made provocative statements propagating hatred and violence. “The appointment of such people puts a question mark on Pakistan’s intentions,’’ said the sources.

India has also raised the flag against Pakistan’s limitation on the number of pilgrims and their mode of entry. India has sought foot-crossing for 5,000 pilgrims per day and nearly triple the number on festival days.

Pakistan opposes foot-crossing, cites infrastructural constraints to limit the daily number of pilgrims at 500 to 700 and wants to bar access to the corridor to PIO and OCI card carrying people of Indian origin.

Given the sensitivities in Punjab about the Corridor, the government sought to reinforce the impression that India was keen on concluding the agreement at the earliest but needed clarity in order to bridge substantive gaps on some issues. The meeting should be substantive and not held just for optics, said the sources.

That is why while predicating the next Kartarpur Corridor meeting on Pakistan clarifying its stand, especially on the reported inclusion of anti-India elements in the Pakistan committee, the sources wanted to wait for the response rather than prejudging its intentions.

“There can’t be any let-up in security. India hopes Pakistan will address security concerns. Once the security aspect is cleared and we get a satisfactory response, we are open and keen to take discussion forward and conclude in a meaningful way,” claimed the sources.

India’s depletion of enthusiasm surfaced a day after Islamabad resorted to its familiar foot-dragging on investigating Pakistani links to the Pulwama attack. In its first report shared with India, Pakistan has denied that any of the 54 people detained were involved in the attacks. Moreover, it rejected Indian claims about the location of 22 terrorist training camps and made a conditional offer to India to visit these sites.  

A gap in perception has opened up because India says it took up Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s offer for a Corridor because it was “open-ended”. But India feels the limitation on the number and type of pilgrims besides their mode of travel is not in line with the earlier indication of easy, limitless and round-the-year entry.

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