Envoys from 16 countries visit Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: A 16-member delegation of envoys from different countries arrived here in Srinagar on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday to see first-hand the efforts being made by the government in the region, ANI reported.

 

The Delhi-based envoys were briefed by the Indian Army on the security situation, sources said.

This is the first visit by diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded special status to the region. The move is part of India's diplomatic outreach to rebut Pakistan's propaganda against it on the Kashmir issue.

The delegation, which includes diplomats from the United States, Maldives, Norway, Argentina, Niger, Togo, Vietnam, Bangladesh, South Korea, Peru, Morocco, among others, will also meet civil society leaders during the two-day visit.

Last year a delegation comprising members of the European Parliament had visited the Valley after the abrogation of Article 370.

India Today reported that envoy of the European Union is skipping the visit after being denied permission to meet the local leaders and detained former chief ministers of J&K, Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.

The EU countries are understood to have conveyed that they would visit the Union Territory on a different date and are also believed to have stressed on meeting three former chief ministers -- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti -- who are under detention.

Earlier, a delegation of 23 EU MPs was taken on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the Union Territory by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, a Delhi-based think tank.

The Delhi-based envoys arrived in Srinagar by a special chartered flight at Srinagar's technical airport where top officials from the newly carved out union territory received them.

Later in the day, they would be going to Jammu, the winter capital of the newly created Union Territory, for an overnight stay. They will meet Lt Governor G C Murmu as well as civil society members.

Image Credit: Asian Age

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