The Formal inauguration of Kartarpura Corridor on Saturday is the first positive development in the relations between India and Pakistan following the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 which had deeply embittered their ties. The Corridor was formally inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan by removing a curtain in the presence of thousands of Sikhs from across the World including India . The Corridor facilitate the visa free entry of Indian Sikhs pilgrims to celebrate the 550th Birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. Among the devotees was the former Prime Minister Monmohan Singh, Union Minister Hardeeppuri, Former Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal and Cricketer Turned Politician Navjot Singh Sidu. Khan Shook Hand with Manmohan Singh who was present at this function and exchanged pleasantries. Speaking on the occasion, Khan said he was happy that Pakistan could do it for Sikh Community. However, Khan also raked up Kashmir on the occasion saying if India ensure justice to Kashmiris it will open new channel of communication between India and Pakistan and bring about overall improvement in their relationship.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narindra Modi thanked Khan for appreciating India’s sentiment on the corridor . The PM also thanked the Pakistani workers involved in building the corridor. In respond, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has asked the PM Modi to give Khan also an opportunity to thank him by lifting the communication blockade.
However, this is not the first time the two countries have momentarily warmed to each other during the activities related to Kartarpur Sahid Corridor and then gone back to their usual animosity. And this is likely to happen again. Moreso, when New Delhi has already been skepctical of Pakistan’s Kartapur initiative, seeing it as a dubious attempt by Islamabad to reach out to sikh community in India. Morethan a decade long struggle for Khalistan in the 80s is making India cautious about Kartarpur Sahib Corridor. But this hardly detracts from the corridor’s potential for promoting conciliation between the neighbours. Provided, there is desire and will on both sides to take the initiative forward and which under the circumstances seems lacking. For now, atleast , revocation of Article 370 is a sore point with Pakistan and the PM Khan has made it known that until New Delhi reverses the major, there would be no dialogue between the two sides. But it looks out of question that New Delhi would bring back Article 370. So, it is unlikely that the neighours will get back the dialogue any time soon. Something really dramatic needs to happen for them to engage again. Let us hope that PM Modi and his counterpart display the statesmanship to not only resume talks but also carry them forward.