• Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that India is “positive” and “willing to engage” in talks with Pakistan on upgrading the 1974 Joint Protocol on Religious Pilgrimages.
  • It will allow air travel as well as increase the number of shrines pilgrims from both countries could visit.
  • The government also reopened the Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara corridor to Pakistan to allow Sikh pilgrims to cross over, more than 20 months after it was shut down due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Earlier, India and Pakistan had exchanged a list of their nuclear installations.

Important points:

  • Under the protocol both the countries agreed on the following principles for facilitating visits to such shrines :
  • Pilgrimage visits from one country to the other shall be allowed without discrimination as to religion or sect. The list of shrines to be visited shall be finalised shortly through correspondence.
  • The agreed list may be enlarged from time to time by mutual agreement.
  • The protocol currently includes five Muslim shrines on the Indian side and 15 shrines on the Pakistani side, a majority of them gurdwaras.
  • Upto 20 parties may be allowed to visit from one country to the other every year. This number may be revised from time to time.
  • Every effort should continue to be made to ensure that places of religious worship mentioned in the agreed list are properly maintained and their sanctity preserved.
  • Such visitors will be given Visitor Category visas.
  • The Kartarpur corridor connects the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal district of Pakistan with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district in India’s Punjab province.
  • The corridor was built to commemorate 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, founder of Sikhism on 12th November 2019.


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