New Delhi: At a time when a 15-member delegation of envoys from different countries is undertaking a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday stated that the prime objective of taking the delegation to the valley was to show them how the normalcy in the UT was largely restored. Also Read - EU Delegation Skips J&K Visit as Centre Takes 17 Envoys on Tour Today: Report
He said that the visit of 15 foreign envoys to J&K is being facilitated by Govt of India. “Envoys from US, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Maldives, Morocco, Fiji, Norway, Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, & Guyana are undertaking the visit to the Valley,” he said. Also Read - Delegation of Envoys From 15-20 Countries to Visit Jammu and Kashmir Later This Week
He further stated that the delegation had the first meeting with security officials to get a sense of security situation in J&K, and also threat posed by terrorism in maintaining peace. “Objective of the visit was the envoys to see first-hand the efforts which have been made by the Central government to normalise the situation there,” he said.
Talking about reports that EU diplomats refused to be part of foreign delegation visiting J&K because they thought it was a guided tour, Raveesh Kumar said, “We wanted this group to be of manageable size and make it broad-based representing different geographical regions.”
Raveesh Kumar added that when they were approached, 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. The invitation wasn’t sent to all members because it would have made the delegation too big.”
Earlier in the day, the delegation was briefed by Chinar Corps Commander Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon on the security situation in the region.
Ahead of the briefing, the delegation met several political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including Ghulam Hasan Mir, Altaf Bukhari, Shoaib Iqbal Lone, Hilal Ahmed Shah, Noor Mohd Sheikh, Abdul Majid Padder, Abdul Rahim Rather and Rafi Ahmed Mir.
The delegation, which includes diplomats from the United States, Maldives, Norway, Argentina, Niger, Togo, Vietnam, Bangladesh, South Korea, Peru, Morocco, among others, is visiting Kashmir to see first hand the efforts being made by the government in the region.
After the last year EU delegation, this is the first visit by diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded special status to the region.