Envoys from several countries, including the US are scheduled to visit Jammu and Kashmir today. The delegation will undertake a two-day visit to the Union Territories beginning on Thursday. The delegation will be taken to the UTs to demonstrate the measures taken by the government to bring the situation to normalcy after the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Foreign envoys from 17 countries including USA, Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Niger, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh and Peru are part of the delegation. India was in touch with the European Union but they refused to be part of this tour. It is possible that another delegation of EU envoys could later visit the region.
Diplomats from Australia and several Gulf nations were expected to join the delegation but eventually dropped out. Some cited scheduling constraints.
The envoys travelling on Thursday will meet civil society members and receive a briefing on the security situation from various agencies, the officials said. The envoys are likely to be taken to Srinagar first and then to Jammu to meet the UT’s Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu and other officials.
Sources said envoys of a number of countries had requested the government for a visit to Kashmir to get a first-hand account of the situation prevailing in the valley. The move will be part of India’s diplomatic outreach to rebut Pakistan’s propaganda against it on the Kashmir issue.
In October last year, a group of 23 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were taken to Kashmir by the International Institute for Nonaligned Studies, a Delhi-based think tank. However, the government had distanced itself from the visit of the delegation and Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy informed Parliament that the European parliamentarians were on a “private visit”.