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Govt to take 15 foreign envoys on 2-day visit to J-K today; EU skips, to go on later date

This is the first time New Delhi is inviting official representatives of foreign governments to visit Srinagar since the Parliament revoked Article 370.

SNS | New Delhi |

A group of around 15 foreign envoys based in New Delhi will be taken to Jammu and Kashmir on January 9-10 to see the first-hand efforts being made by the Government in the region.

It includes envoys mainly from Latin American and African countries. They will meet civil society leaders and will be briefed on the security situation by the Army and intelligence services.

However, countries from the European Union reportedly said that they will not be part of the foreign delegation visiting Jammu and Kashmir on the Centre’s initiative on Thursday.

The Government said that the EU Ambassadors will undertake a trip to Jammu and Kashmir at a later date.

Earlier it was reported that certain European envoys were not keen on a ‘guided tour’ of J&K and rather wanted to meet the people they wanted to interact with.

The two-day visit is being organised following requests from the envoys to visit Kashmir after the Government’s decision last August to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the state into two Union Territories.

This is the first time New Delhi is inviting official representatives of foreign governments to visit Srinagar since the Parliament revoked Article 370.

Earlier in October last. a delegation of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) had reached Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation on ground even as sporadic incidents of violence were reported from the Valley following the abrogation of Article 370.

The MEPs, who first checked into at a five-star hotel on their arrival, were taken to the Army’s 15 Corps headquarters at Badami Bagh where top army commanders briefed them about the situation in Kashmir.

The delegation also met and interacted with members of the Janata Dal-United and the Bharatiya Janata Party, representatives of panches and the sarpanches from the Valley, as well as some of the newly-elected Block Development Commission members.

The MEPs also visited Dal Lake and undertook a ‘shikhara’ ride for about 20 minutes before returning to their hotel.

However, the MEPs had come under criticism after it emerged that several of them belonged to right-wing parties in Italy, France and Germany.

In all, 22 of the 27 members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were right-wing politicians in their respective countries.

Clarifying on the same, the Government said the two-day trip of the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) to Kashmir was like a “familiarisation visit”.

The Congress, Shiv Sena and other opposition parties had targeted the Government saying it has internationalised the Kashmir issue.