Kartarpur Corridor Foundation Laying- A Limited Opening.
The foundation laying of the Kartarpur Corridor in India as well as in Pakistan held on 26 and 28 November respectively is a case of missed opportunities for both sides as they failed to change their positions on issues which have prevented a forward movement in relations. Thus it will remain a limited opening.
“The only issue between us is Kashmir, all it needs is just two capable leaderships to resolve this issue. Just imagine the potential we have if our relationships get strong,” said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the foundation stone laying ceremony while completely ignoring the role of Islamabad and Rawalpindi the GHQ of Pakistan Army and ISI in fostering terrorism in India that too two days after the 10th anniversary of the Mumbai 26/11 terror attack.
The event took place with an Indian delegation comprising Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri and Indian Punjab Minister of Local Government, Tourism, Cultural Affairs, and Museums Navjot Singh Sidhu, Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister for Housing Hardeep S Puri was present on the occasion.
Indian official reaction to the statement came promptly. The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said, “It is deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to realise the long pending demand of the Sikh community to develop Kartarpur corridor by making unwarranted reference to Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India. Pakistan is reminded that it must fulfill its international obligations and take effective and credible action to stop providing shelter and all kind of support to cross border terrorism from territories under its control.”
The greeting by Pakistan army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla at the Kartarpur Corridor inauguration in Pakistan is another example of Pakistan’s duplicity and denial.
Given the mixed signals from Pakistan, Indian External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj announced that India will not attend the SAARC summit. “We are not responding to it (the invitation by Pakistan for the summit) positively because as I said unless and until Pakistan stops terror activities in India, there will be no dialogue, so we will not participate in SAARC,” she said while speaking to reporters in Hyderabad. “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 said in Telangana where she is campaigning ahead of the Telangana assembly elections on December 7. “The moment Pakistan stops terrorist activities in India, dialogue can start. But the dialogue is not connected with only the Kartarpur corridor,” Swaraj said.
The deep wound that terrorism from Pakistan has left on India is evident by the statement by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff speaking at a seminar on Hybrid Wars said, “In the 21st century technological advancements have added greater asymmetry to hybrid warfare. Irregulars can surprise conventional forces with hi-tech gadgets and weapons such as rockets, surface-to-air missiles, sophisticated communication systems and near-instant reach back to their state sponsors.”
Thus while Kartarpur Corridor opening is welcome there is only limited scope for progressing India Pakistan relations.