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USA support ppl to ppl ties between India-Pakistan: US State dept

17 July, 2019

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The US State Department on Tuesday said that it was "incredibly supportive" of anything that increases "people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan".

During a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus was asked to comment on the Kartarpur Corridor: "Yeah, that was certainly a good news report, wasn’t it? We encourage it," she said.

"Anything that increases people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan is something that we’re incredibly supportive of," she added.

Ortagus' comments follow the latest talks between the two sides — which took place on July 14 — on the opening of the Kartarpur corridor for Sikh pilgrims. Pakistan claimed to have made headway on "80 per cent and beyond" issues in the much-delayed second round of talks.

The talks were held at the Wagah border where a 13-member Pakistan team was led by Saarc and South Asia desk Director General and Foreign Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, while an eight-member Indian team was headed by interior joint secretary S.C.L. Das.

The corridor, a peace initiative of the Pakistani government, is being constructed to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. The corridor will provide Indian Sikhs visa-free access to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan.

To work out modalities for the opening of Kartarpur opening, a Pakistani delegation on March 14 visited Attari where a meeting was held with Indian officials. While the next round of talks was scheduled for April 2 at Wagah, India pulled out of it over reservations that pro-Khalistan activists such as Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh had been included in Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee — a body that works for facilitating Sikh pilgrims.

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