The Central government is set to organise a second visit of diplomats, including several ambassadors from the European Union (EU) nations, on a tour of Jammu and Kashmir in the coming week. This visit comes in the aftermath of the European Parliament’s joint draft resolution on Jammu and Kashmir and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), according to reports.
According to reports, about 20 to 25 envoys from “different geographical regions” are being invited to join the delegation. Originally, the government had planned to organise a visit for the EU diplomats in early summer. However, the visit could now be moved ahead in the wake of the European Parliament’s debate last week over a joint draft resolution on Kashmir and the CAA.
Reports state that unlike the last visit in January, when European Union (EU) members declined to travel and asked to be sent as a combined group of 27 members, this time, several members of the EU have agreed to visit. At the time, the EU had said it would not be keen on a visit to the Valley, which will be solely designed by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Home Affairs, and that they would want to assess the “real situation” there.
After the debate on 29 January, the European Parliament decided to defer the vote on the resolution. India has called it a “diplomatic victory”. The voting is likely to take place in the next plenary sitting of the European Parliament that could be held on 31 March-1 April, as per reports.
On January 9, a group of 15 envoys, including the US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster, visited the new Union Territories where they interacted with select political representatives, civil society members, as well as the military top brass. The visit came after India abrogated Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and imposed communication restrictions on the region, which is being lifted in a phased manner. The group of foreign envoys included those from United States, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Maldives, Morocco, Fiji, Norway, Philippines, Argentina, Peru, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, and Guyana.
In October, a delegation of 23 European Union MPs visited Sri Nagar for a first-hand assessment of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of the State's special status under Article 370. The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians. Amongst them, four members did not travel to Kashmir and had reportedly returned to their respective countries, officials said.