Sikh Americans Urge India Not to Let Tension with Pakistan Impact Kartarpur Corridor WorkTop Stories

March 13, 2019 10:43
Sikh Americans Urge India Not to Let Tension with Pakistan Impact Kartarpur Corridor Work

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Sikh Americans have urged the Indian Government to ensure that the work on the landmark Kartarpur Corridor is not impacted by the tension between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama terrorist attack.

Tensions between India and Pakistan intensified after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14.

In retaliation, India launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot on February 26. The following day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in aerial combat and captured its pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.

A delegation of eminent Sikh-Americans from various parts of the United States, gathered in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to present a memorandum to the Indian Embassy.

The delegation, under the banner of California-based United Sikh Mission, also met nearly half a dozen lawmakers, including two Senators and Congressman Greg Pence, elder brother of the U.S. Vice President, Mike Pence, urging them that the U.S. play a role a role in ensuring peace in the region.

Leaders of various Sikh organizations including Sikhs Political Action Committee (PAC) from Indiana, Gadhar Memorial Foundation from Oregon, Sikh SEVA from Virginia, Sikh Religious Society from Illinois, Let's Share a Meal from New Jersey and those from various gurdwaras formed part of the delegation.

The ongoing tension between India and Pakistan "should not slow the progress" that has been made on the implementation of the Kartarpur Corridor, said Rashpal Singh Dhindsa, founder of United Sikh Mission in a memorandum submitted to Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

"The approval of the peace corridor is a great step in the right direction for all parties affected by this conflict. Now is the time to continue our efforts to create a peaceful resolve to this situation," the memorandum said.

India and Pakistan made an agreement to open up a special border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.

"There is no time for us to slow down or stop completely. Now is the time for action. And we should not let anything get in the way of our great progress," said the memorandum submitted by the Sikh delegation to the Indian Ambassador.

The corridor will facilitate the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur.

By Sowmya Sangam

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