Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

The Kartarpur Corridor is a secure corridor through which Indian pilgrims can visit the holy Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, visa-free. This milestone was achieved after India and Pakistan signed an agreement in 2018 for Indian Sikhs to easily visit their holy pilgrim site. 

In this article, we shall discuss the significance of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor and its importance for the Sikhs in India. IAS aspirants must carefully go through the information mentioned further below for the General Studies part of the UPSC Syllabus.  

Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Notes for UPSC:-Download PDF Here

What is the Kartarpur Corridor?

In 2018, India and Pakistan signed the historic agreement for the construction of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor which connects Darbar Sahib Gurdwara located in Pakistan’s Narowal district with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in Punjab, India

Given below are the salients features of this corridor:

  • The agreement will ensure a visa-free travel for the Indian pilgrims
  • A list of shrines and holy places have been determined under the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines, as per which Indian and Pakistani citizens can visit the respective countries and their holy sites
  • The agreement is valid for a period of five years and either of the two countries can terminate it giving a notice period of a month
  • This corridor can be considered as a road to peace between the two neighboring countries. 

To know more about the Relations Between India and Pakistan, visit the linked article and read about the various factors leading to the relationship between the two countries.

Kartarpur Sahib Corridor – A Brief Background

At the time of the India-Pakistan partition, the Line of Control had divided the province of Punjab into two parts. One of which remained in India and the other was within the Pakistan borders. 

Thus, a lot of Sikh pilgrims could not visit the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara without a visa, even though it was merely 4 kilometers away from Indian borders. 

Given below is the timeline of the development of the Kartarpur Corridor:

  • The Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is said to be established by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev in 1522
  • In 1999, the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proposed this corridor under the Delhi-Lahore bus diplomacy
  • In 2018, the Government of Pakistan approved the construction of the corridor
  • On November 26, 2018, Indian Vice President, Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the corridor from the Indian side, and two days after, on November 28, 2018, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the fountain from the other side of the border
  • On the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the Kartarpur Corridor was completed and the first batch of Indian pilgrims was sent to visit their holy pilgrim place

Aspirants can also get the List of Neighbouring Countries of India at the linked article and know the common boundaries and geographical features for each country.

To know about the International Border Between India and Pakistan – ‘The Wagah Border’, click here

Significance of the Kartarpur Corridor

Kartarpur is believed to be one of the holiest places for Sikhs as the Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev preached there during the last eighteen years of his life. Thus, after partition, the Indian people could only visit the Gurdwara following the travel terms and conditions laid by both the countries. 

The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor opened up a path of peace and acknowledged religious and cultural acceptance between the two countries. It is also of significance in various other ways:

  • Pilgrims who had to cover longer distances and get all the documents and visa to visit the Gurdwara could simply apply online and visit their holy place
  • The ideology of Guru Nanak Devji to preach universal love and lead a path of harmony was addressed 
  • This corridor acts as a peace treaty between the two nations and amid all the tensions promotes religious tolerance

Visit the Birth of Guru Nanak – [April 15, 1469] page for more information about this important day in history.

About Guru Nanak Dev – The First Sikh Guru

  • Guru Nanak Dev was the founder of Sikhism 
  • He was born on 15 April, 1469 at Rai Bhoi Ki Talvandi, modern-day Nankana Sahib, Punjab, Pakistan
  • His teachings can be found in the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the holy book of the Sikhs
  • He was one of the most profound religious gurus in Indian history and believed in the philosophy of One God (Ik Onkar) and the unity of mankind
  • He died on September 22, 1539, and named Guru Angad as his successor

Challenges with Implementation of the Kartarpur Corridor Agreement

Due to the intensifying relations between India and Pakistan on political and security grounds, a lot of challenges had to be faced during the construction and implementation of the Kartarpur Corridor Agreement. 

  • A pilgrim fee of $20 was asked by the Pakistan authorities for every Indian pilgrim visiting the Gurdwara. This was unacceptable for India as it was against the religious sentiments and cultural acceptance of the country
  • Security was another key concern for India. Because of the terror activities, India was concerned about the safety of its citizens visiting the shrine
  • Because both the countries had signed an agreement which stated that either India or Pakistan could terminate the project with one month of notice, was another challenge as it could be used as a condition to threaten and cancel the agreement

UPSC aspirants can get a comprehensive List of Socio-Religious Movements, Political and Religious Ideologies at the linked article. 

Important Facts about Kartarpur Corridor

Given below are a few important facts about the Kartarpur Corridor’s location, constructions, etc.

  • The corridor has been created on the banks of river Ravi, which is about 120 kilometers to the northeast of Lahore. The Kartarpur Corridor map was released by the two countries to ensure proper construction of the passage
  • Only Indian citizens and tourists are allowed to use this corridor. Citizens of Pakistan cannot use the Kartarpur corridor
  • Pilgrims will be allowed to carry a dagger or kirpan, which is an article of faith among the Sikhs
  • There is no restriction on the age of people who can travel through the corridor
  • For visa-free travel, people need to register online on the Government website and carry an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) document along with them

To read about the various 19th Century Social and Religious Reform Movements, candidates can visit the linked article. 

Latest Developments Regarding the Kartarpur Corridor

The following developments have taken place regarding the Kartarpur Corridor ever since it opened in November 2019

February 25, 2020: Following security concerns regarding the Kartarpur Corrider, Chief Minister of Punjab Capt. Amrinder Singh asserted that it will remain open despite such concerns.

March 15 2020: Following the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Government of India suspended all travel in and out of the country. This extended to the Kartarpur Corridor as well

April 20, 2020: Due to a thunderstorm, at least 8 domes of the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib collapsed. The government of India raised this issue with Pakistan, questioning the construction practices and materials to build it.

June 29, 2020: Pakistan took the decision to reopen the Kartarpur Corridor following its temproary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no visitor came from India. The government of India said it would take a decision on allowing pilgrims from its side after consulting health authorities and other concerned stakeholders.

December 3 2020: India condemned Pakistan for violating the resolution on Culture of Peace passed last year and arbitrarily transferring the management of the Sikh holy shrine – Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara, from the Sikh Community body to the administrative control of a non-Sikh body in November.

 

Kartarpur Sahib Corridor Notes for UPSC:-Download PDF Here

For any further information regarding the latest exam updates, study material or preparation tips, candidates can turn to BYJU’S for assistance. 

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