Dera Baba Nanak (Gurdaspur): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated the Kartarpur corridor, thanking Pakistan premier Imran Khan for respecting Indian sentiments towards the shrine across the border that marks the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev.
“I thank Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi,” he told a gathering about eight kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak gurdwara, where he later flagged off the first batch of pilgrims to the shrine.
Thanking Imran Khan at the meeting at a Border Security Force camp in Shikhaar Masiahan, Modi said, “He understood India’s feelings on the Kartarpur corridor issue gave them respect and worked accordingly.”
“I also want to thank workers in Pakistan who worked at a fast pace, helping in building the portion of the corridor on their side,” he said.
The corridor links Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Indian Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, just four kilometres apart across the border. Before flagging off the first ‘jatha’, Modi chatted briefly with Manmohan Singh, who was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur.
Other members of the delegation included Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Union ministers Hardeep Puri and Som Prakash.
Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, his son and Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and daughter-in-law and Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal were also part of the delegation led by Akal Takht Jathedar Harpreet Singh.
Gurdaspur MLA Sunny Deol was part of this group.
The corridor, which allows visa-free access to the shrine where Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev spent his final years, has been thrown open just ahead of his 550th birth anniversary on November 12.
The prime minister inaugurated the passenger terminal on the Indian side of the four-kilometre corridor and also attended a ‘langar’ along with Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore, Amarinder Singh and state Congress president Sunil Jakhar.