We have observers in J&K for many years: Swedish king

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf (C) speaks with with volunteers as Queen Silvia (R) looks on as they participate in a beach clean-up project a the Versova Beach in Mumbai on December 4, 2019. (Photo by Punit PARANJPE / AFP)

King Carl Gustaf of Sweden said here on Wednesday that his country has been having "observers" in Jammu & Kashmir for many years.

The remarks came against the backdrop of media reports about Sweden calling for lifting of remaining restrictions in Kashmir, imposed in August following the revocation of the Himalayan state's special status.

"We can say we have people from Sweden, trying to (be) as observers in these areas in Kashmir for many many years. In that sense, we are trying to be an observer if possible," King Gustaf told a select group of journalists here.

The Swedish king and his wife are on a five-day visit to India. The royal couple met Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Governor B S Koshyari earlier in the day.

Asked if any offer for mediation by Sweden to resolve the Kashmir dispute was discussed when he met the Indian leadership in Delhi, he declined to answer, citing a policy of not commenting on political issues.

He termed his visit as "interesting" so far, and added that there is a lot of scope for India and Sweden to work together.

King Carl Gustaf met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and representatives of the industry in Delhi on Monday and Tuesday.

Climate change is a very important issue for his country, he said, adding that solutions can be "difficult" politically, and it would be good if specific industries worked on improving their functioning to make themselves more sustainable.

He specifically mentioned the shipping sector, which he said can improve on fuel economy and adopt alternative sources of energy.

Queen Silvia, his wife, spoke about the Royal couple's visit to the Versova seafront here on Wednesday morning where they took part in a beach clean-up initiative.

"It was fascinating because we have only seen photographs of plastic and the sea. Now we could see what the sea does to plastic," she said. 

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