The Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between the neighbouring nations of India and Pakistan, connecting the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib (located in Punjab, India) and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur (in Punjab, Pakistan).
The corridor is intended to allow religious devotees from India to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, without a visa.
Need for the corridor
Currently pilgrims from India have to take a bus to Lahore to get to Kartarpur, which is a 125 km journey, despite the fact that people on the Indian side of the border can physically see Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the Pakistani side. An elevated platform has also been constructed for the same on the Indian side, where people use binoculars to get a good view.
When was the Corridor proposed?
The Kartarpur Corridor was first proposed in early 1999 by the prime ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif, respectively, as part of the Delhi–Lahore Bus diplomacy.
Recent activities regarding Kartarpur corridor
On 26 November 2018, the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor was laid down on the Pakistan side. Two days later the foundation stone for the corridor was laid down on the India side. The corridor will reportedly be completed before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
The first guru of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, founded Kartarpur in 1504 CE on the right bank of the Ravi River and established the first Sikh commune there. Following his death in 1539, Hindus and Muslims both claimed him as their own and raised mausoleums in his memory with a common wall between them. The changing course of the Ravi River eventually washed away the mausoleums. A new habitation was formed, representing the present day Dera Baba Nanak on the left bank of the Ravi river.
During the 1947 partition of India, the region was divided between India and Pakistan. The Radcliffe Line awarded the Shakargarh tehsil on the right bank of the Ravi River, including Kartarpur, to Pakistan, and the Gurdaspur tehsil on the left bank of Ravi to India.
After partition, it is believed that Indian Sikhs would go over to Kartarpur informally, crossing a bridge on the Ravi river which joined Dera Baba Nanak with Kartarpur Sahib. This bridge was eventually destroyed in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1965.