Foreign envoys conclude two-day J&K visit

Foreign envoys conclude two-day J&K visit

US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster arrives to meet with Kashmir Pandit migrant during his visit to Jagat Migrant camp in Jammu, Friday. Jan. 10, 2020. (Credit: PTI)

The envoys of 16 countries, including a US ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster, concluded their two day-visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.

On the second day of their visit, they interacted with civil society members and were briefed by a high-level team led by J&K Chief Secretary (CS) BVR Subramanian and Director General Police (DGP) Dilbag Singh in Jammu.

On Thursday, the Delhi-based foreign envoys had visited Kashmir valley to take stock of the ground situation in the region post abrogation of J&K’s special status under Article 370 on August 5 last year.

An official said the team led by the CS and DGP briefed the envoys on security situation post abrogation of Article 370 and carving out of two union territories (UTs). 

“The CS and the DGP answered questions posed by the envoys on various issues including arrests, internet ban and law and order situation since August 5,” he said and added they also briefed the visiting envoys about ‘zero causality’ during the period, which they claimed was exemplary on the part of the police and security forces while dealing with the situation.

The envoys also had a meeting with various delegations, including West Pakistan refugees, J&K Gujjar United Front, PoK Refugees, Valmiki Samaj, lawyers and others. Most delegates in Jammu reportedly told the envoys that they supported the abrogation of Article 370.

The foreign envoys also visited the biggest Kashmiri migrant camp at Jagati on the outskirts of Jammu city where they interacted with the migrants.

The visit came at a time when regional political party leaders, including three former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah his son Omar and Mehbooba Mufti- remain in custody.

The visiting envoys didn’t meet any separatist leaders during their stay in Srinagar as was the ritual during previous such visits in the 1990s and 2000s. This time there was no strike call and shops and business establishments were functioning and civilian traffic was seen on the roads

The envoys' visit is seen as part of the government’s diplomatic outreach to rebut Pakistan's propaganda on the Kashmir issue.

The first visit of a foreign delegation to Jammu and Kashmir since 5 August was organised by Delhi-based think tank International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, which took 23 EU MPs on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the Union Territory in October 2019.

However, the government had distanced itself from the visit with Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy informing Parliament that the European parliamentarians were on a “private visit”.

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