Chandigarh, November 26: Emancipating a historical landmark decision of taking a step forward towards peacebetween India and Pakistan, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Kartarpur corridor ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony in Pakistan on November 28.
The foundation stone laying ceremony will set off the construction of the Dera Baba Nanak-Kartarpur Sahib road corridor that will cross the international border with Pakistan and lead up to the Mann village in Gurdaspur. The ceremony was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh along with Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari and Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the Union Minister of Food Processing.
Speaking at the occasion, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu said, "The longtime dream of the Sikhs has been fulfiled. It is a historical day. We have been dreaming about this project for a long time. This will take us closer to our Guru who has worked for social and gender equality and fought caste system. We had asked the Pakistani government to recognise the sentiments of the Sikhs and develop the corridor."
Thanking Pakistan for its co-operation in the project, VP Naidu further said, "We are happy that Pakistan has accepted our demand. Now, we don't have to go via Attari. This corridor will be the bridge between the people of the two countries who have so much in common. The corridor will open new ways and possibilities for us."
Emphasizing on the need of peace, the Vice Prez added, "Peace is the first condition of development. I hope people on the other side are also listening to what CM Singh and I have to say in this regard. The objective of this function is to work for peace."
He also added that some people are using religion to spread terrorism. But no religion has anything to do with terrorism. India never attacks any country and neither wants to attack anyone. India aims for good relations with neighbours. He elaborated saying, “Our Prime Minister Modi had called all our neighbours for his oath-taking ceremony. He had also visited Lahore to attend a personal function without an invite. Some people have been using religion to attack us. It is not favourable to anyone. Our main challenges are to fight illiteracy and hunger. People want peace and harmony. It is only possible if both sides are working in synchronisation,"
Concluding his speech, VP Naidu said, "India is moving forward. The world is looking at us. Our economy is good. So, we want co-existence with our neighbours. Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said we can change our friend but not neighbours. I hope that today's step will lead us to a peaceful life. The state and Centre must work together. I am happy that his function was organised by both of them.”
While the groundbreaking ceremony of the Pakistan side of the corridor will take place on November 28, India laid the foundation stone for the construction to begin on its side today. The Indian side of the corridor starts from the Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district and it is extended across the international border between India and Pakistan. The corridor will be developed by the National Highways Authority of India and funded by the Government of India.
The Kartarpur Sahib Corridor assumes significance for Sikh pilgrims in India as the road will lead to the iconic Gurudwara Darbar Sahib that is located in Kartarpur on the banks of river Ravi in Pakistan. Gurudwara Darbar Sahib is the last resting place of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism. For 18 years till 1539, Kartarpur was the place where Guru Nanak Ji lived and also assembled the Sikh community. The opening of the Kartarpur Corridor will allow seamless travel of Sikh devotees in India to the holy pilgrimage. This historical landmark between the two countries is also said to boost tourism between the two countries.