NEW DELHI, July 14 (Xinhua) -- Indian and Pakistani officials held the second round of talks Sunday on the modalities of the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, a pilgrimage corridor for the members of India's Sikh community.
The talks were held at Wagah in Pakistan, near the Wagah-Attari Border. It is expected that the much-awaited pilgrimage would begin in November.
Both sides discussed the modalities and draft agreement for facilitation of pilgrims on the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, as well as the infrastructure being developed by both the sides for the corridor.
The Kartarpur Sahib pilgrimage corridor is located inside Pakistan's territory just near the international border with India. The corridor is being built to connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib located in India's northern state of Punjab, and the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur located in Pakistan's Punjab province.
India urged Pakistan to take into consideration the sentiments of the Indian pilgrims to have a smooth, easy, unrestricted access throughout the year to be able to visit the holy shrine.
It was reiterated that 5,000 pilgrims should be allowed to visit the shrine using the corridor everyday and 10,000 additional pilgrims be allowed to visit on special occasions.
India also urged that the movement should be visa-free and Pakistan should reconsider charging any fee or introducing any permit system, and that the pilgrims should be allowed to visit throughout the year, seven days a week.
The Indian side was led by Joint Secretary in Home Ministry S.C.L. Das, and comprised representatives from several ministries, including Home Affairs, External Affairs, Defence, government of Punjab and the National Highway Authorities of India.
The meeting also reviewed the progress reached in the three rounds of technical meetings that were held in March, April and May this year. They endorsed the crossing point/"zero point" coordinates that were agreed to at the technical level.
The Indian delegation conveyed concerns regarding the possible flooding of the Dera Baba Nanak and adjoining areas on the Indian side as a result of earth-filled embankment road, or a causeway, that is proposed to be built by Pakistan on their side.
According to the statement, the technical teams of both the sides would meet again to ensure a seamless connectivity for the Kartarpur corridor is operational in time so that the pilgrimage can begin in November.