EU to send team to study Kashmir polls | india | Hindustan Times
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EU to send team to study Kashmir polls

india Updated: Feb 24, 2009 01:18 IST
Arun Joshi

The European Union (EU) will send a fact-finding mission to Jammu and Kashmir, the first after the assembly elections in December 2008, which recorded a 62 per cent turnout, surprising both the national and international communities.

The Troika mission will comprise Sweden, Spain and France and will be headed by the ambassador of the Czech Republic, Hynek Kmonicek. It will visit both the Kashmir Valley and the Jammu region.

Although since 1994, this has been a regular annual feature, a source in the EU establishment here, who refused to be named, said the fact-finding mission would help the European Union “get a broader and better understanding about Jammu and Kashmir”.

Much has changed since the first EU Troika mission, when the separatists hailed it as a result of their efforts to draw international attention after militancy erupted in Kashmir in 1990. Later, ambassadors of many Islamic and western nations, including the US and the UK, visited the Valley.

This time, the mood in the state is essentially reflective of the changing scenario, with the focus increasingly shifting towards economic issues. After the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan’s admission that terror groups had used its soil also helped change the perspective in Kashmir, political observers said.