In sharp contrast to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s polemic on Pakistan regarding cross-border terrorism during the foundation stone laying ceremony of Kartarpur corridor, his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday said it would help promote peace between the two countries. Sidhu, who reached Pakistan to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony, called Kartarpur a “corridor of infinite possibilities”.
The 4-km-long corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district with Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib Narowal in Pakistan. The corridor will provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to the final resting place of Guru Nanak.
Sidhu thanked Pakistan PM Imran Khan for making the corridor possible, saying it was a happy moment for the Sikh community. “This will erase enmity between the two nations. The seed Imran Khan had sown three months ago has become a plant,” he told the media at Wagah.
Regarding his infamous hug with Pakistan Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa during his visit to Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony, Sidhu said it was not a Rafale deal and lasted only a second. “When two Punjabis meet they hug each other, its normal practice in Punjab,” he said.
On Monday, Sidhu skipped the ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor on the Indian side in Gurdaspur, Punjab, which was attended by Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Amarinder Singh. He had, however, flown in from Madhya Pradesh to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Dera Baba Nanak, where he paid obeisance.
The Pakistan government had invited a host of Indian leaders for the ceremony, including Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and CM Amarinder Singh. Swaraj had declined the invitation due to prior commitments but has nominated Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri to attend.
Singh had rejected the invitation, saying he wouldn’t go as “not a day passes when Indian soldiers are not killed or wounded on the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir”.