India keeps Khalistan threat off Kartarpur talks

• Indian security agencies raised concerns about Pakistan using the Kartarpur Corridor to push the Khalistani agenda, India did not raise the issue during the March 14 delegation-level talks on the modalities of the pilgrimage route.

• The government’s stand comes amid concerns of secessionist groups, including Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), a U.S.-Canada-based outfit, planning to organise a convention on ‘Khalistan-Referendum 2020’ at the Kartarpur shrine.

Key concerns

• The official said that while the possibility of Pakistani agencies trying to radicalise Sikh youth existed, India would have to trust its citizens.

• Khalistan issue might have not been raised during the delegation-level talks, but over the years India has raised it with Pakistan.

• The source also said these concerns were being raised with the U.S., Canada and other countries whose citizens are participating in the protests.

Interestingly a day before the talks were held at Attari, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan met pro-Khalistan activist Gopal Singh Chawla in Islamabad along with members of other minority communities.

India accused Pakistan of doublespeak and said the actual offer made by the neighbouring country was “farcical and mere tokenism.”

• On the referendum proposed by SFJ at the Kartarpur shrine for a separate Sikh land and asking visiting pilgrims to participate in it.

• It was not linked to the Kartarpur corridor adding that it cannot be held by citizens of another country even as many of those agitating on the issue were not
citizens of India.

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Mains Paper 2: International Relations

Prelims level: Kartarpur talks

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