Now, golf diplomacy for Kashmir

This summer, CM Azad has a new plan to showcase the improved situation in the valley to the outside world.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 09:06 IST

This summer, picturesque Jammu and Kashmir will engage in some golf diplomacy to showcase the improved situation in the valley to the outside world.

Invites will go out to different countries, especially those that have listed adverse travel advisories for Kashmir, which has for long been associated with a violent insurgency and terrorism.

"We will invite parliamentarians, especially from Britain, the US and other Western countries. These countries have put out negative things about Kashmir," Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

"Since Kashmir Valley has the best golf course of Asia -- Royal Springs in Srinagar -- it will offer the best opportunity to parliamentarians from these countries to play golf and also enjoy the cool climes."

Royal Springs is nestled in the foothills of Zabarvan hills and overlooks the shimmering waters of Dal Lake. It has been often referred to as the most beautiful golf course in the world, with its shinning grass and zigzagging tree line.

"The idea is to tell the visitors that Kashmir is beautiful and peaceful," Azad said.

"The move will help in attracting more tourists to Kashmir and present before the world the real picture of Kashmir in 2006."

In the first three and a half months, over 300,000 domestic tourists and 4,600 tourists from at least 52 countries have visited the valley that poets and kings have extolled as a paradise on earth.

"And the tourist season is yet to begin. We are looking forward to a big boom in tourist arrivals this year," Azad said.

The way people have condemned the serial blasts here April 14 -- that claimed five lives -- and not allowed life to be disturbed by such terror is a healthy sign of people coming out against the cult of violence, the chief minister said.

The arrest of the guerrillas behind the explosions within 24 hours has also sent a clear message that perpetrators of violence cannot have a free run, he said.

First Published: Apr 18, 2006 09:06 IST