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  • Context (IE): Proposals to engage Pakistan for “Kartarpur Sahib” bring to the fore the idea of ‘Para-diplomacy’.


  • Paradiplomacy involves formal interactions between entities below the federal level — provincial and local governments — in pursuit of shared national goals.
  • Paradiplomacy, conducted in tandem with the central government, can often produce openings that cannot be generated between the national governments’ congealed positions.

India’s complications in para diplomacy

  • West Bengal had, in fact, complicated Delhi’s engagement with Dhaka.
  • Similarly, Tamil Nadu governments have often exercised their veto over Delhi’s ties with Sri Lanka.

Paradiplomacy opportunities on the Pakistan border

  • The state and Centre have to work for “exchange of territory” with Pakistan in return for Kartarpur Sahib.
  • Reopening the Attari and Hussainiwala borders with Pakistan for trade and tourism.
  • Special economic zone along the entire Punjab border seems to be a possible idea to work with.

Kartarpur Corridor

Kartarpur Corridor - PMF IAS

Credits: The Quint

  • It connects the Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Narowal (Pakistan) with the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur (India’s Punjab).
  • It was built to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
  • Village Kartarpur is located on the west bank of the River Ravi, where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.

Difficulties in para diplomacy with Pakistan

  • Past baggage: It is hard to change the territorial status quo along the Radcliffe Line with a history of distrust and bloodshed.
  • Pakistan Army’s resistance to economic cooperation: The Pakistan Army is not inclined to resume trade with India.

Refer to India-Pak trade to know more about halting of Indo-Pak trade.

Way forward

  • India’s neighbourhood policy must work with the interests of the people in the border provinces.
  • A consensus between the centre and the regional parties in the border provinces on developing a productive relationship with the neighbours is a must.
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