AKIPRESS.COM - A group of 24 diplomats from foreign embassies, including from Kyrgyz Republic, based in New Delhi visited Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir in India on February 17, and interacted with locals in Budgam district, as part of their two-day visit to the Union Territory, Business Standard reported.
Earlier, the diplomats who landed in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir were accorded a traditional welcome by the District Development Council (DDC) Chairman, Nazir Ahmad Khan and other local council representatives.
The foreign envoys were briefed on Panchayati Raj (local governance) and grievance redressal through “Back to villages and Block” program, thus elaborating how the administration reaches the doorstep of people.
French envoy Emmanuel Lenain and Italian envoy Vincenzo de Luca were seen talking to the locals in Magam block. Charge d'Affaires of the Bolivia Embassy in New Delhi Juan Jose Cortez Rojas said the people of Jammu and Kashmir are happy with the decisions the Indian government took in the Union territory and he was impressed with the developments.
Foreign diplomats from Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Malawi, Eritrea, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, and the European Union were on the visit.
The latest visit of foreign envoys comes in the backdrop of the recently concluded District Development Council polls, which many see as a return of full normalcy in the Union Territory.
This was the first visit by foreign diplomats to Jammu and Kashmir since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Two batches of foreign diplomats had earlier visited J & K in January and February last year after the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
In January last year, envoys of 15 countries including the then US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster and diplomats from Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh and Peru visited J & K to see first-hand the efforts being made by the government in the region.
In February last year, 25 foreign diplomats, including those from Germany, Canada, France and Afghanistan, visited the region to witness the ground situation in the region.
The envoys visit was third such delegation to visit Kashmir Valley since August 5, 2019, when the state was bifurcated into the separate Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.
A group of 27 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) had visited Kashmir region of J&K in October, 2019, at the invitation of a Delhi based think tank after they apparently expressed a desire to visit Kashmir to understand how terrorism was affecting India.