Chandigarh: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Thursday welcomed the Centre's decision to approve construction of a corridor up to the Punjab border to facilitate the journey of pilgrims to the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.
SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal thanked the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the decision taken at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
"We are grateful to the Modi government for this historic decision. The 70-year-old demand of the Sikh community to have a corridor to offer prayers at the gurdwara has been finally acceded to," Badal, flanked by his wife and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, told the media in New Delhi.
The construction of the corridor will be undertaken by India from the border town of Dera Baba Nanak to the international border with Pakistan.
The government has decided to urge Pakistan to construct the remaining part of the corridor in its territory.
The gurdwara, which is significant for the Sikh community since the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, spent 18 years of his life in Kartarpur till he died in 1539.
The All India Sikh Students' Federation also on Thursday welcomed the decision.
Federation President Karnail Singh Peer Mohammad said: "The recent decisions by the Pakistan government to open the corridor and the Indian government to build the corridor respectively is commendable and praiseworthy.
"These decisions will gradually and eventually lead towards long lasting peace. Both the governments should work on the corridor together and send the message of peace in the world, which would be in coherence with the teachings of Sri Guru Nanak dev ji."
Guru Nank's 550th birth anniversary will be celebrated next year.
The Punjab Assembly had passed a unanimous resolution on August 27 seeking uninterrupted opening of the corridor.