Kartarpur Sahib Corridor isolation needs to keep fears, politics isolated too in its execution

Kartarpur Sahib Corridor isolation needs to keep fears, politics isolated too in its execution

Tejinder Singh Bedi


History in the Making

Commenting on the complex geopolitical misconceptions being nurtured by Pakistan about the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir close on the heels of the foundation stone laying ceremonies for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor by present leaders on either side, our Army chief, Gen Bipin Rawat is stated to have said that this initiative with Pakistan should be seen in isolation and without linking it to anything else — stressing Indian government’s stance that ‘terror and talks can not go together’, yet again though for an umpteenth time.

The Army Chief’s observation also follows the government’s considered outlook espoused by our External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj when she declined this posturing announcement of a foreign office of Pakistan for India’s participation at the SAARC summit even before its date had been fixed and agreed to by all its members, a day before.

The overall approach followed by the government of India is perfectly befitting the long drawn imbroglio never letting a truly cordial environment to arise despite many peace-loving lobbies craving for the same from either side.

Now that the ball has been set rolling on the long-awaited corridor, we need to ensure that no unnecessary fears are allowed to stall or scuttle its progress for completion by the next; the 550th birth anniversary of the Great Guru. Once completed, it is obvious that free access to citizens of the two partitioned nations up to limited destinations on either side will still be subject to strict security checks and clearance; as at our airports — where cent percent vigil is both possible and always exercised.

There is no basis of any unnecessary hue and cry of infiltrations from or into either side. Even today, the visits of fellow citizens up to the Wagah border are thoroughly and carefully monitored by Punjab and the Border Police enforcement. Let’s not overlook the fact that left to the Punjab government alone the move would never have taken off and the Union government’s support for it is a carefully considered decision of the central cabinet. At the same time, the refusal for accepting the Pakistan government’s invitation to attend the ceremonies by Punjab CM Capt. Amrinder Singh has been strictly in line with the integrated subsisting thought process of the Union government that it views the initiative to follow up for opening up of the corridor as an isolated move from both the sides; primarily heeding to the desire and demand of lakhs of devotees of Guru Nanak Dev ji on both the sides. Any unwarranted fears by agencies which have no role to play towards such decisions by the Union and the State governments involved need to leave such assessments to better judgment and prudence of our IB and RAW wings and not fanned to create obstacles in a move becoming possible for the first time more than seven decades after partition.

Smiles all the way

So far as the run-up to the decision to reach the stage both the countries have arrived is concerned, there are no winners and no losers except the devotees of Sat Guru Nanak Dev in its success or failure. This is not to deny that all said and done, Imran Khan in his truly sporting approach has emerged as the first premier of Pakistan who has shown a positive bent of mind for the launch of this prestigious project as much as our Prime Minister Modi ji who did not take long to support the move from the Punjab government, after Navjot Singh Sidhu’s spirited support for realizing this long pending dream of Punjabis for taking up the cause with his former cricketing legend from Pakistan at the right time and first opportunity possible.

We also do not need to overlook the statements made by Imran Khan that the Pakistan army along with all political parties was on the same page as far as Indo-Pakistan peace outreach is concerned and that Pakistan was willing to respond with two steps to every single step that we might take for peace in the continent. He has also appreciated the fact well that both sides being nuclear powers stand to lose in the event of a war that has left ‘mutual engagement’ as the only other practical option.

It would have been much better if references to any political issues like the Kashmir — raised by Imran and the Rafale deal raised by Navjot Singh had been kept out of the ceremonial proceedings; which were aimed purely at the launch of the corridor project and no other political deliberations or discourses. This would have eliminated the limited voices of dissent against the success of the grand project idea from people of opposing respective political and national interests and priorities and this spirit is again reflected well in the statement of our Foreign Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj that the corridor can’t be a basis for talks between the two nations.

(*Author Tejinder Singh Bedi is a former technocrat, a people management, CSR Adviser, free-lance writer and a passionate singer)