The newly created union territory Jammu & Kashmir, witnessed first official delegation since Aug5 2019 after the abrogation of article 370 was revoked which bestowed special status to the former State of Jammu & Kashmir. The official delegation of envoys of the foreign mission is on a two-day trip to Jammu and Kashmir. The delegation will asses the to ‘assess‘ the ground situation and get a sense of Indian government‘s ‘efforts’ in bringing normalcy in the UT.
It should be noted that since August 5, 2019, there has been a complete shut down observed in the state including, business, internet, offices and schools.
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This is the second time a foreign delegation is visiting the state, the first one which comprised of a group of 27 Members of European Parliament (MEPs), who belonged to different political parties, including ruling and opposition parties, had paid a private visit to India from October 28, 2019, to November 1, 2019, at the invitation of the International Institute for Nonaligned Studies, a Delhi-based think tank.
As per the schedule, the Heads of the mission of 15 nations reached the Valley for a visit on Thursday and left for Jammu for the second leg of their tour on Friday. The countries who are part of the group are United States, South Korea, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Fiji, Maldives, Norway, Philippines, Morocco, Argentina, Peru, Niger, Nigeria, Guyana and Togo.
This is the first official meeting amidst the heavy security deployed in the region. It is noteworthy to mention that Close to 9.5 lakh personnel from the Army, various paramilitary units and special forces, besides the Indian Air Force, are guarding every inch of the Kashmir Valley amid heightened tensions between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the scrapping of Article 370. After the Aug 5, the Centre has deployed over 1.75 lakh additional forces — which is unprecedented in the history of Jammu and Kashmir.
Besides there is a massive troop buildup, all the forces put together were flown in at least 100 doctors to cater to medical emergencies among soldiers and have stocked up on medicines and rations, which would last easily for the next three to four months. The doctors include specialists like cardiologists, neurosurgeons, general physicians and pathologists. Several dozen vehicles have been rented by the Jammu and Kashmir police to ferry soldiers, besides pressing into service more military vehicles to facilitate travel in the interior areas of the Valley, particularly in the troubled hotspots of South Kashmir.
As per the decided schedule, the delegation has meetings with the security officials to understand the challenges of maintaining security, including the threat of terrorism in the Union Territory. This was followed by an interaction with civil society from all walks of life and from all over J&K. The group also interacted with the local media as well as a group of political leaders.”
The visit of delegates has been facilitated by the centre to deflect the international condemnation as Several nations and the US House of Representatives have expressed concern over the continuing restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, including on the internet, on since August 5.
By Iram Rizvi
Dr Iram Rizvi is working as a Sr. Research Associate in Policy Times- A Digital Media cum Strategic Advocacy Organisation. She has done PhD in Conflict Reporting from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi & has been a Post Doctoral Research Fellow of Osmania University. She has worked with various Newspapers and is regularly contributing articles to both national and international News Organisations.