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India has ‘high expectation’ from talks on Kartarpur corridor
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India has ‘high expectation’ from talks on Kartarpur corridor

Agency News

New Delhi, Jul 12: India on Friday expressed "high expectations" for the deliberations with Pakistan on July 14 for the proposed Kartarpur Corridor but said security of the Indian pilgrims will be of "paramount importance".

"The proposed complex and the passenger terminal with the look of a state of the art airport will have robust security systems with CCTV surveillance and other advance security systems, adequate parking space for 10 buses, 250 cars and 250 wheelers. More than Rs 500 crore will be spent for the complex," sources said here.

The first round of parleys between the two sides were held on March 14 on the Indian side of Attari-Wagah border.

The second round of talks originally scheduled to be held on April 2 was deferred by New Delhi after Pakistan government had appointed pro-Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla in a panel associated with the Kartarpur corridor.

Pakistan on July 2 conveyed to India that the second meeting to discuss the draft agreement for finalizing the modalities of Kartarpur Corridor and related technical issues will be held on July 14 at Wagah.

Displaying commitment for the Kartarpur corridor, India on June 29 offered fresh dates for talks seeking to break the deadlock.

"We have high expectations from July 14 talks," an official said here.

Sources in the know of things maintained that issues related to inclusion of Gopal Chawla and other issues will be raised at the talks from Indian side.

From the Indian side, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Punjab government and other agencies are working in close coordination to make the programme successful.

There is smooth progress on the part of Indian agencies and a reputed builders M/S Shapoorji and Pallonji Pvt Ltd is undertaking the construction works under the supervision of Land Ports Authority of India.

"We are confident from our side....the works are going on in full swing and the work has been planned to be completed by October 31 before the commemoration of 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Devji in November 2019," the source said.

From the Indian side as many as 250 labourers and 30 engineers under the supervision of senior officials from concerned agencies are working in three shifts.

"The progress is good from Indian side....but what happens on the other side is in the court of other side. But we have high expectations," the source said.

Answering questions, Indian officials say broadly there have been agreement during March 19 technical teams meeting on construction of a bridge to thwart chances of floods, but at a later stage there was a change of stance on the part of Pakistan.

"At the next level, they said a mud bridge would be erected, and when this was opposed by Indian side, they agreed to construct concretized structure. This too will be unsafe and not acceptable," a source said, adding such ad hoc and risk-prone arrangements "should not be thought of".

But the Indian officials declined to draw into any conclusion that chances of walking out from the talks arrived at this stage.

"The idea is to make the corridor happen. It is linked to people's faith and sentiment and ...... we will not spare any effort," a key source in the know of things said. (UNI)