Indian artist Gurmeet Singh poses with a paper model of the Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan -- the focus of the Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan -- in Amritsar. (Photo: NARINDER NANU/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States of America on Friday (30) appreciated India and Pakistan’s efforts to increase people-to-people contact, just days after the two countries laid foundation stones for the Kartarpur corridor.

The corridor links two gurdwaras on both sides of the border. It will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India. The Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur is the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev.

“I’m aware of reports on this Kartarpur corridor,” state department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters. “I understand that it’s kind of a visa-free way for Indians to visit this important Sikh site.  And of course, the United States would welcome efforts to increase people-to-people ties between India and Pakistan.”

The Kartarpur corridor is expected to be completed within six months.

Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday performed the ground-breaking of the four-kilometre-long Kartarpur corridor, and addressing Sikh pilgrims he said: “The next year you come here, you will find every kind of facilities.”

On Pakistan’s relationship with India, Khan said he hoped to establish a civilised relationship with the neighbouring country.

“We want civilised relationship. Kashmir is the only problem. Are not we capable of solving a dispute? We need will to resolve the issue,” he said. “Think about the potential we have. I want good relationship with India. If we open our borders and start trade, poverty would decline,” the prime minister added.

Pakistani media too echoed similar sentiments, saying the move to build the Kartarpur corridor has the potential to undo the “freeze” in ties between India and Pakistan.

“The Kartarpur development comes at a time of no dialogue and little contact between Pakistan and India,” the Express Tribune said in its editorial. “A meaningful confidence-building measure, the move has the potential to undo this bilateral freeze and push the two sides to engage in a positive and purposeful manner,” it said.