A second batch of foreign diplomats reached Jammu and Kashmir to take a note of the ground situation in the region, half a year after the Parliament scrapped the erstwhile state's special status and split it into two Union Territories. The second batch included diplomats from across 25 countries including--Germany, Canada, France and Afghanistan. This is the second batch of foreign diplomats visiting the Kashmir valley within a month.
The delegation includes diplomats from Canada, Austria, Uzbekistan, Uganda, Slovak Republic, Netherlands, Namibia, Kyrgyz Republic, Bulgaria, Germany, Tajikistan, France, Mexico, Denmark, Italy, Afghanistan, New Zealand, Poland, and Rwanda. The delegation met with fruit growers in North Kashmir before reaching Srinagar, wherein they are scheduled to meet media representatives, civil society groups and politicians. Earlier on Wednesday, photographs of the envoys sailing in Dal Lake was shared by news agency ANI.
The Indian Army is expected to brief the visiting diplomats on the security situation in the Kashmir valley, and would also be giving a detailed presentation on Pakistan's involvement in propelling terror in the newly formed Union Territory. According to reports, the envoys will stay for the night in Srinagar before moving to Jammu next day where they are expected to meet Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu and civil society groups.
The Foreign Ministry notified that the group is visiting Baramulla, Srinagar and Jammu where they would meet representatives of the civil society, including youth from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic communities, local business and political leaders, civil administration and representatives of mainstream media. They will also receive briefing about the development programmes being implemented, get assessment of the security situation, and witness for themselves the progressive normalisation of the situation.
The fresh batch of diplomats also includes representatives of the European Union.Their participation assumes significance as the EU Parliament recently initiated to bring a joint draft resolution on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and Kashmir, the vote on which was later deferred. Last month, envoys of 15 countries including United States Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster and diplomats from Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh and Peru had visited Jammu and Kashmir on January 9 and 10 to see first-hand efforts being made by the government in the region.
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5. These were subsequently eased. The internet is functional at a few places through leased lines. Mobile internet facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites.
(With ANI inputs)