India, Pakistan officials meet to discuss border opening

GOPOK5SGHQI6TFFL2LO2HQG7KISource: Associated Press

By ASHOK SHARMA

NEW DELHI (AP) — Officials from India and Pakistan met Thursday amid easing tensions to discuss opening a visa-free border crossing to allow pilgrims to easily visit a Sikh shrine just inside Pakistan.

A Pakistani delegation crossed over to the Indian side of the land border at Wagah-Attari for the talks. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal headed the Pakistani delegation. The Indian side was led by S.C.L. Das, a joint secretary in the Home Ministry.

Instead of visas, the two countries plan to give special permits to devotees to access the shrine, the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Narowal border district.

India suggested that initially at least 5,000 pilgrims be allowed to visit the Sikh shrine every day. “We have also strongly urged them to allow the visit of pilgrims on all seven days a week,” the Press Trust of India news agency quoted Das as saying.

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Categories: Asia, India, Pakistan

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