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Not a guided tour: MEA says criticism of foreign envoys visit to J&K ‘baseless’

External Affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the objective of the visit was to show first hand the govt's efforts to normalise the situation in Kashmir.

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New Delhi: The External Affairs Ministry on Thursday said the objective of the visit by foreign envoys to Jammu and Kashmir was for them to see first hand efforts to normalise the situation there and termed the criticism that it was a guided tour unfounded.

Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said a similar visit to Kashmir can be organised in future including by EU envoys.

The team of 15 envoys which included the US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster arrived in Srinagar on Thursday on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the first visit by diplomats since August last year when the state’s special status was revoked and it was downsized to a union territory.

Kumar said that the visit was facilitated by the government and the envoys met security officials, political leaders, civil society groups and media.

The objective of the visit is to see first hand efforts to normalise the situation in Kashmir, he said.

The visit to J&K was organised considering prevailing situation, he said.

Asked about political leaders who met the group, Kumar said the visit by the envoys to Kashmir is not yet over.

The EU envoys wanted to visit Kashmir in a group and the government did not extend invite to all, he said.

The criticism that this is a guided tour is unfounded, he said.


Also read: Envoys in Kashmir: Is it just domestic optics or attempt to address global backlash?


 

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1 COMMENT

  1. The envoys will be making their own assessments, even if their meetings are within a somewhat confined space. 2. Trade and investment are an important part of their remit. While Kashmir’s economy is a small part of the country’s, they would study the basis for claims made the local Chamber of Commerce about losses sustained. 3. Whom they are unable to meet would likely tell them as much as those who meet them do. Anyway, a small step forward. May it be followed by more diplomats visiting, with progressively more open exposure.

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