aa: A Pakistani delegation on Thursday left for India in a bid to defuse heightened tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.
The visiting delegation will discuss a draft agreement on the Kartarpur corridor, which will provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit their holy sites in Pakistan.
The Pakistani side is being led by Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal.
“We hope that this initiative of the Prime Minister Imran Khan will not only facilitate Sikhs, especially from India but in the current vitiated situation can be a step forward in the right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship,” Faisal told reporters at the Wagah border crossing prior to his departure.
The meeting is being held at Attari, an Indian village at a 3-kilometer (1.8-mile) distance from the border.
“We agreed with the Indian proposal to hold a meeting at Attari which shows our spirit of constructive engagement flexibility and sincere efforts to deescalate the situation for regional peace and stability,” Faisal added.
Pakistan and India had agreed to open the Kartarpur border crossing this year.
However, relations between the two South Asian neighbors soured following a suicide bombing in Indian-administered Kashmir in mid-February that left at least 40 Indian troops dead.
Tensions mounted further following border skirmishes between the two countries’ air forces in which both sides claimed to have downed each other’s aircraft.
The two countries have fought three wars — in 1948, 1965 and 1971 — since they were partitioned in 1947.
Source: published by aa