India pulls diplomatic coup with G20 meet in J&K


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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, May 23: In another two months, Jammu and Kashmir will mark another anniversary of the abrogation of the special provisions of Article 370, which had drawn a strong reaction from countries such as Turkey. By holding the third working group meeting on tourism in Srinagar even with an unprecedented security arrangement, India appears to have heralded a new chapter in Jammu and Kashmir by holding the first international event of such scale in the valley.

Pakistani foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was left with no choice for lack of international appetite to listen to Islamabad’s narrative by addressing the Assembly in the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. A motley of crowd held protests in the PoK, reported Reuters. Pakistan sympathisers Turkey and China stayed away from the G20 meeting in Srinagar. Even Saudi Arabia aligned with Pakistani allies to the surprise of India, as the United Arab Emirates on the contrary has been sending regular delegates to the valley for economic partnership.

Senior journalist Ramananda Sengupta who went to Srinagar ahead of the G20 meeting said that the valley is also now a source of good news amid the government attempting to make new changes on the back of development.  

“The ongoing 3rd Tourism Working Group Meeting in Srinagar is the biggest gathering of foreign delegates so far. It is bigger than previous TWG meetings in Siliguri and Gujarat, and except China, all G20 nations delegates, representatives and other stakeholders of tourism industry of the respective countries are participating in the event. I have been informed that 57 delegates from 27 countries are participating in the G20 meeting at Srinagar,” said Manoj Sinha, the Lt. Governor of J&K.

He said that “sustained reforms, including a new film policy, modern infrastructure and ease of doing business, has transformed Jammu Kashmir into a preferred destination for shooting of films, which is also strengthening the economy and providing employment opportunity to the people. Overall tourism offered large number of employment and contributed around seven per cent to its GDP in last fiscal year”.

India is in fact making a determined to raise its stake in the global tourism pie by opening J&K along with the North-eastern states to the foreign tourists, who are seeking alternative destinations to China. By showcasing that a big even could be held in Srinagar without any hassles, India has sought to turn the lid over the Pakistani narrative of a disturbed and disputed Kashmir territory. For India, in the words of foreign minister S Jaishankar, the issue is only about the time when Pakistan vacates the occupied Kashmir which is an Indian territory. By holding G20 meeting in Srinagar, India appears to have scripted a new chapter.

Nasir Shah, chairman of the J&K Tourism, told Strat News that the UT hopes that the foreign tourists would start coming to the valley. Also, he said, the foreign countries would withdraw the travel advisories against visiting J&K after the successful hosting of the G20 meeting in Srinagar.  

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