Pakistan, India discuss visa-free corridor for Sikh pilgrims


LAHORE -- Pakistan and India held "very positive" talks Thursday (March 14), as the two countries sat down to discuss a visa-free corridor for Sikh pilgrims just weeks after soaring tensions.

Officials from the two countries met in Attari, India, to discuss the details of an agreement that would allow Indian Sikhs to visit a shrine to their religion's founder in eastern Pakistan.

"Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor," read the joint statement released by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry.

The two sides are set to meet again in the coming weeks to finalise the deal, the statement added.

"They were very welcoming; the whole meeting took place in a very positive environment," added Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal.

Upon completion of the corridor, Indian Sikhs will be able to access the site without first having to apply for a Pakistani visa.

The negotiations come as the nuclear-armed neighbours strive to reduce tensions. A February 14 terrorist attack that killed 40 Indian troops in Indian-administered Kashmir led to the first Indian Air Force bombing of Pakistani territory since 1971 and to Pakistan's capture of a downed Indian pilot, whom it later released.

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