China and Turkey are among G20 member states that will not attend next week’s tourism working group meeting in Srinagar, while several other countries will have a low-level presence at the event, people familiar with the matter said.
The meeting, which will be held from May 22 to 24, is considered to be one of the biggest international events to be organized in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019. Tight security measures have been put in place around the area. venue, Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Center (SKICC) on the banks of Dal Lake. It was not clear whether Indonesia, the last president of the G20 and a member of the troika, would attend the meeting in Srinagar.
India rejected Pakistan’s objections to holding G20 meetings in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, saying such events are being organized in all states and union territories ahead of the Delhi summit in September.
China skip G20 meeting
China, which skipped the G20 meeting held in Arunachal Pradesh in March, and Turkey will not attend the meeting in Srinagar, the people cited above said. China’s decision is apparently linked to objections from its close ally Pakistan, while Turkey has criticized India’s handling of the Kashmir situation in recent years.
Several other countries, both G20 member states and guest countries invited by India to participate in the G20 process include Saudi Arabia and Mexico.
“The main event will be held at SKICC on May 22 and 23. We are expecting more than 100 delegates from G20 states and guest countries,” said a senior SKICC officer.
“We renovated the conference center according to international standards and an ecological environment was created for the delegates. All efforts are being made to make this event a success and to showcase the culture, tourism and arts of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Tourism Commissioner Secretary Abid Rashid said the meeting would be used to encourage member countries to lift their travel advisories on Kashmir. “There will be officers from countries that have issued negative travel warnings. I hope they will consider lifting these alerts after the event,” he said.
Special emphasis is placed on the security of the venue and there are daily review meetings of the top security agencies. Security has also been beefed up for the two high-end hotels in Srinagar where the delegates will be staying. Delegates may visit the Gulmarg ski resort, although officials said a final call has yet to be made regarding the trip due to security concerns.
Additional Director General of Police Vijay Kumar said security details have been finalised. “We have mandated officials from various agencies and the administration to work closely with the police and security forces for a successful G20 meeting. All magistrates and police officers have been instructed to identify the rumour-mongers, if any, and take precautionary measures,” he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration has launched an advertising campaign on social media and national media to promote the meeting and development projects. Over the past month, a number of G20-related events have been held in Jammu and Kashmir by various departments, especially in schools. A Youth-20 meeting was held at Kashmir University.
Srinagar was spruced up for the event and the administration was undergoing a major renovation in the run-up to the event. Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Commissioner Athar Amin Khan said that all the projects under the smart city project have been completed or are on the verge of completion. The airport road and flyover were improved and the city was illuminated.
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