Barely hours before the stone-laying ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan, India has reiterated its position on terror emanating from the neighbouring country, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj making it clear that it does not mean that bilateral talks will begin soon. Thanking Pakistan for accepting India’s longstanding demand for opening of the Kartarpur corridor, Sushma also reiterated India’s long-standing position that terror and talks can’t go together.
“For many years the Indian Government has been asking for this (Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror and talks can’t go together,” she was quoted as saying by ANI.
Swaraj’s statement has come hours after reports that Pakistan might invite PM Narendra Modi for the SAARC summit in Pakistan. India had earlier refused to attend the summit in 2016 along with some SAARC countries due to terror-related incidents.
The foundation stone for the corridor will be laid by Pakistan PM Imran Khan. Two Indian ministers are representing India at the ceremony after Sushma Swaraj had conveyed her inability to visit the country due to prior engagements. The government of India is being represented by Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri, who have already crossed over to Pakistan. Punjab Navjot Singh Sidhu is also in Pakistan for the event in his personal capacity.
“I feel extremely grateful and privileged to be able to make this pilgrimage. This was a long-standing demand of the Sikh community. Express gratitude also to Pakistan Government,” Puri told ANI before leaving for Pakistan.
#WATCH For many years the Indian Government had been asking for this (#Kartarpur) corridor, only now Pakistan responded positively. It doesn’t mean the bilateral dialogue will start because of this, terror & talks can’t go together. : EAM Sushma Swaraj pic.twitter.com/iSPFRbyQI1
— ANI (@ANI) November 28, 2018
Earlier, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh said that even as he would like to visit the shrine in Pakistan but would only go after the killing of Indian soldiers stops. On the other hand, his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is in Pakistan, believes that the situation may change under the present regime in Pakistan.