India and Pakistan will hold a round of talks on the Kartarpur corridor project on September 4, sources confirmed on Sunday. The meeting comes days after both sides held a technical discussion on the progress of infrastructure work.
“We proposed a slot between September 3 and 5, and they [Pakistan] agreed to meet on September 5,” a source said, adding that India had sent a note verbale on August 28, asking for the third round of talks on the project that is expected to be operational on time for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations in the first week of November.
The coming round is significant as it will be the first such talks between two sides since New Delhi ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. Despite the tension in the relations with Pakistan, India has said it wishes the work on the project would continue unhindered by other issues. Pakistan, too, has said it remains committed to the project. On August 31, Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared on social media that India remained focused on completing the remaining work on time for the festivities. “I also reiterate the commitment of the Modi government to complete the work on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor within the time frame,” he said in a message. Once completed, the project will be first such initiative between the two countries.
Both sides had agreed to make the corridor free of visa requirements to facilitate the visit of pilgrims from India and other parts of the world. The second round of talks was held on July 14; thereafter the tension increased because of the situation in Kashmir.
The celebrations started in the first week of August when a ‘Nagar Kirtan’ procession reached Amritsar from Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. It was historic as it was the first time such a religious procession reached India from across the border since the Partition of 1947.