India and Pakistan diplomats hold first meeting since escalation

India and Pakistan diplomats hold first meeting since escalation
# 14 March 2019 12:04 (UTC +04:00)

Officials from Pakistan and India are set to meet on Thursday in the first diplomatic contact between the two countries since a suicide bombing in the disputed region of Kashmir last month triggered an escalation in tensions between them, ONA reports citing Haaretz.

A delegation of Pakistani diplomats crossed into India from a border crossing near the eastern city of Lahore, Foreign Ministry spokesman of Pakistan, Mohammad Faisal said.

The diplomats would discuss the opening of a corridor and a new border crossing with India to allow Sikhs to visit one of their holiest shrines, Faisal added.

The opening of the corridor is meant to allow Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Kartarpur Sahib in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab.

The founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, spent the last 18 years of his life and died at Kartarpur Sahib, which is now in Pakistan.

Sikhs live in both countries and often face difficulties in visiting holy shrines due to tensions between Pakistan and India.

Last month's bombing almost triggered a war between the two nuclear-armed rivals, before tensions were defused with the help of international intervention.

"This initiative [opening the border crossing] is aimed at turning animosity into friendship," Faisal told journalists before crossing into the Indian border town of Attari, where the meeting was to be held.