Foreign Envoys on J&K Visit Meet Civil Society Members, Leaders

MEA said EU envoys wanted to visit “in a group” and that would have made the visiting team too large.

3 min read

Foreign envoys on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir met community leaders and civil society members in Jammu on Friday, 10 January, News18 reported.

The official team led by Chief Secretary and DGP arrived this morning and briefed the team on various aspects of the security situation post abrogation of Article 370 and carving out two UTs, officials said, according to PTI.

It was followed by the meeting with various delegations including West Pakistan refugees, Valmiki Samaj and representatives of Gujjars and lawyers, they said.

Financial commissioner, Health Atul Dulloo briefed the team about the health facilities created by the government and gave an overview of the sector, PTI reported.

The team is scheduled to visit the biggest Kashmiri migrant camp at Jagati on the outskirts of Jammu city late this afternoon and will interact with them.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday, refuted reports that envoys from European Union (EU) skipped visiting Jammu and Kashmir after they insisted on meeting former state CMs – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti – who are under detention.

Briefing the media on Thursday evening, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the EU envoys did not specify any particular meeting. He added that the ministry told them about the “prevailing threat perception”.

He further said that EU envoys wanted to visit "in a group" and the MEA avoided that as it would have made the visiting team too large.

“When we approached them they welcomed the decision. Our understanding is that they wanted to visit in a group. You’re aware, on many issues they take group position. Invitation wasn’t sent to all members because it would have made the delegation too big,” the MEA spokesperson said.

"We wanted this group to be of manageable size and wanted it to represent various regions in a broad-based manner," he also said, adding that more such visits would be conducted at later dates.

Earlier on Thursday morning, US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, along with envoys from 15 other countries, arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

Besides the US, the delegation includes diplomats from South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Maldives, Morocco, Fiji, Norway, Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, and Guyana.

Brazil’s envoy André Aranha Correa do Lago was also scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir. However, he backed out because of his preoccupation, the officials said on Wednesday.

Kumar said that the delegation’s first meeting was with security officials to get a sense of security situation in J&K.

“Objective of visit was the envoys to see first hand the efforts which have been made by government's to normalise situation,” he said.

News agency ANI reported that the delegation met a group of local political leaders on Thursday morning.

Second Visit by Foreign Delegation

This will be the second visit of a foreign delegation to Jammu and Kashmir since 5 August 2019, the day when the Centre withdrew the state's special status and bifurcated it into two Union territories – Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier, a delegation of 23 EU MPs, mostly belonging to far-right parties, was taken on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the Union Territory by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, a Delhi-based think tank.

However, the government had distanced itself from the visit of the delegation. Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy had informed Parliament that the European parliamentarians were on a "private visit".

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