Foreign envoys, minus those from EU, reach Jammu and Kashmir
US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster along with envoys from 15 other countries arrived in Srinagar on Thursday on a two-day visit to union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This is the first visit by diplomats since the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August last year.
The Delhi-based envoys arrived by a special chartered flight at Srinagar’s technical airport where top officials from the newly carved out union territory received them, officials said.
The envoys will meet Lt Governor G C Murmu and civil society members before heading to Jammu later in the day, they added.
Besides the US, the delegation includes diplomats from Bangladesh, Vietnam, Norway, Maldives, South Korea, Morocco, and Nigeria, among others.
Envoys from the European Union (EU) are not a part of the group. They will make a trip to Jammu and Kashmir at a later date, said a person who declined to be named.
“Reports that EU ambassadors are not part of the group of envoys visiting Jammu and Kashmir due to certain restrictions in the programme are unfounded and mischievous,” the person said.
HT had reported on Wednesday that the EU mission in Delhi is discussing the proposed trip with the external affairs ministry. Dates for the trip are yet to be finalised, diplomats of two EU states had said.
The people cited above said India had wanted to take a global group of envoys to Kashmir with some EU ambassadors, and not all EU envoys were asked to join.
However, the EU envoys wanted to visit as a group, and this was not possible due to restrictions on numbers and to keep the group broad-based, the people said. Some EU envoys also said the visit was being organised at short notice and they didn’t have time to seek instructions from their headquarters, the people added.
The people said the envoys would be free to interact with people subject to security considerations.