Sukhbir Badal hails Modi’s surprise visit to Pakistan

Chandigarh, Dec 25 (IANS) Describing it as a “path-breaking step”, Punjab Deputy Chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to make a surprise visit to Pakistan will strengthen bilateral relations and bring people of both countries closer to each other.

In a statement issued her, Badal, who is the president of BJP ally Shiromani Akali Dal, wished that the visit will be the “beginning of a constructive and uninterrupted dialogue”.

“This is indeed a sign of statesmanship as ‘rashtraneeti (national policy) is above raajneeti (politics)’. National interest is paramount and it should never succumb to partisan politics,” he said.

Badal said that the prime minister had visited several countries for improving bilateral relations between nations which would eventually boost economic ties, enhance educational cooperation and technical assistance.

He said the Punjab government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee had been requesting the governments of both India and Pakistan government to create a pilgrim corridor up to the gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib so that Indian pilgrims could have uninterrupted access to the shrine.

The Kartarpur Sahib shrine, where Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev lived for a number of years, is two kilometres from the India-Pakistan border in Punjab’s Gurdaspur sector near Dera Baba Nanak.

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