It's not just political upheavals and frequent violence that may put Iraq, Egypt and Kashmir on one line. Buyers from 60 countries, including Bagdad and Cairo, on Sunday were seen bonding on intricately-woven Kashmir carpets in Srinagar.
Baghdad-based Tareq al Kadhimi is busy assessing the knots and fibre of Kashmir carpet. "I am in Kashmir only to buy Kashmir carpet," Kadhimi told the HT, adding, "Kashmir is nice and so are the people."
Kadhimi picked up a carpet ordered by him to have 1921's map of his country Iraq, finely woven in silk carpet by Kashmir artisans.
Ahmad Tawakol, from Egypt's Cario city, is mesmerised by Kashmir on his first visit. "It's much more better than what I had expected," said Tawakol, who was busy discussing Egyptian revolution on the sidelines.
Ahmad and Tawakol are among 60 potential buyers invited from 21 countries, including the US, UAE, Malaysia, Egypt, Germany, Turkey, Tunisia and Indonesia at the '6th International Buyer Seller Meet' organised by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
It is held on the banks of Dal lake at Sher-i-Kashmir Interventional Convention Centre and chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday evening hosted a dinner for the foreign guests.
"The aim of the meet is to inculcate emotional bond among buyers for the art itself," said KCCI member Sheikh Feroz.
The buyer-seller meet comes in the wake of devastating September '14 floods that dipped the export market of art and handicrafts by `500 crore.
"We are expecting a good buying spree from these buyers who have already placed orders and checked the quality of goods first hand," said KCCI president Sheikh Ashiq.
Buyers from New York and Los Angles -- Tony Abrahim, a designer, and Franesca Mesina, a furniture supplier, are driven by the finer textiles and fibre from Kashmir.
"I have ordered block prints. I am impressed by the fineness of fibre and the embroidery," said Mesina.
Abrahim is planning to take Kashmir fibre to 20 countries where he owns his showrooms. "Kashmir fibre has much details and it's beautiful," said Abrahim, a well-known name in the trade.
The KCCI had put up artisans on a dais for live demonstration. Kashmir's soulful musical instruments like Santoor and Wazwaan dish Rista gripped the music lovers and food connoisseurs among the foreign buyers.
The promotional exhibition is displaying rare shawls, stoles, carpets, kaftans, dress material, suede, wood carving, crewel, papier machie etc.
The KCCI aims to attract at least 200 potential buyers from the international markets in the next five years.