Foreign envoys arrive in Jammu-Kashmir on 2-day visit to assess ground situation
The delegation includes 4nvoys from 24 nations, namely Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, EU, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, Malawi, Eritrea, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Malaysia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan.
Srinagar: A delegation of foreign diplomats from 24 countries have begun their two-day visit to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to assess the ground situation and witness first-hand the steps taken by the government to restore normalcy in the Valley following the revocation of its special status in 2019.
The group includes European Union (EU) ambassador Ugo Astuto, and envoys of some 10 European countries, including French ambassador Emmanuel Lenain. Envoys and senior diplomats of Bangladesh, and countries in Africa, Central Asia and Central America are also part of the group.
The visit follows India's February 5 move to restore 4G mobile internet services in the union territory (UT) exactly 18 months after India amended Article 370 to revoke the special status of the erstwhile state.
The group of foreign envoys is expected to interact with some of the newly elected District Development Council (DDC) members, with the government looking to highlight the turnout in the maiden DDC elections as a sign of the local people's faith in "grassroot democracy" and their rejection of any interference by external forces in, as the government says, India's internal matter.
In August 2019, the Centre had abrogated Article 370 that accorded special status to the erstwhile state and also bifurcated it in two Union territories.
This is the third official visit by foreign envoys to the region since its special status was revoked. Earlier, India had organised visits for the foreign delegates in two batches - one in January and another in February last year. During their visits, the envoys had met some senior officials of the state administration and also interacted with locals.
The diplomats will travel to Jammu region on Thursday for more meetings and interactions.