kartarpur corridor
Kartarpur, PakistanReuters

India and Pakistan began their second round of discussions finalising modalities and technical issues of the proposed Kartarpur Corridor at the Pakistan side of the Wagah Border on Sunday.

"Pakistan is fully committed and cooperating to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor. Work from our side is underway in an expeditious manner. More than 70 per cent of the Gurudwara construction work has been completed. We hope to have a productive discussion with the Indian counterparts," said the spokesperson for Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr Mohammad Faisal.

The Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, SCL Das, and Joint Secretary Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Deepak Mittal, will be discussing details including infrastructure, pilgrims movement and safety, according to authorities on Friday, reported ANI news agency.

The authorities have also said that India will demand the construction of a bridge by Pakistan in the creek area. India also plans to address the risk of possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib due to the construction of an embankment-filled road of the corridor on Pakistan's side.

The project will cost India Rs 500 crore to build. The sum will be used to install high-tech security cameras to monitor the safety of pilgrims as well as an all-weather facility to cater to 10,000 to 5,000 pilgrims on both special and daily basis.

The Pakistani government has set aside Rs 100 crore in its recent budget for the development of the corridor, reported PTI.

Last year, both the countries announced the development of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. The route which is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur region in Punjab will connect the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev - Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India.

National Security

The senior officials have said that the pilgrims to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur will be screened for security threats once the corridor opens for public.

The rising incidents of Sikh pilgrims being recruited by Pakistani intelligence agencies for pushing pro-Khalistan movement in India as well as for spying purposes have become a matter of concern for the Indian security establishment.

While Pakistan had banned pro-Khalistan activities, Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have been known to promoting the agenda.

The issue of pro-Khalistan has been the issue in the panel members of Pakistan's Kartarpur Corridor Committee. The talk was earlier scheduled for April 2 in Pakistan but was pushed back after India raised concerns of the appointments of contentious pro-Khalistan activists including Gopal Singh Chawla, Tara Singh, Besant Singh, Manendar Singh and Kuljeet Singh. 

However, security officials have said that since the pilgrims will have to return to their own country on the same day of the pilgrim, the chances of recruitment by ISI agents will likely to be limited in the corridor.

The construction of the corridor is expected to be completed by 31 October 2019 ahead of the Guru Nanak Parab celebrations, the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.