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Wednesday 29 January 2020

MPs from 16 Latin American, African nations to visit J-K

In October 2019, 28 MPs of the European Parliament had visited Jammu and Kashmir and slammed Pakistan for its sponsorship of terrorism

Sixteen foreign politicians and diplomats from Latin American and African countries will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. During their visit, the delegation of diplomats will meet members of civil society. Officials said that the diplomats would visit the union territory and learn about the security arrangements. The group consists mainly of MPs from Latin American and African countries.

Besides, several European Union countries have expressed their desire to visit the area that, in August 2019, turned from a state to a union territory with a truncated area after Article 370, which accorded to it a discriminatory special status, was rendered ineffective.

The MPs will meet the three former chief ministers detained in the meantime, Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, as well. Officials said that the diplomats would meet members of civil society on Thursday to take stock of the situation.

Thereafter, they will meet the Union Territory Governor GC Murmu in Jammu and return to the capital New Delhi. According to sources, MPs from several countries have sought permission from the government to visit Kashmir so that they can understand the situation after the removal of Article 370.

Sources in the union government said that the visiting foreign MPs are expected to know the truth about the region rather than feed off Pakistan’s propaganda about Jammu and Kashmir.

After the virtual revocation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and the reorganisation of the state into two union territories, India had informed many countries of the world, including P5+1 countries, about the development and the need for it.

Earlier, a team of European MPs on a tour of India visited Jammu and Kashmir in October 2019. That was the first visit by a foreign delegation to Kashmir after the provisions of Article 370 giving special status to Kashmir were lifted. Prior to the Kashmir visit, European MPs had reached Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg in Delhi and met him. They met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, too.

That delegation of 28 MPs of the European Parliament visited Jammu and Kashmir while reposing their faith in ‘zero tolerance’ against terrorism and criticising Pakistan’s meddling in Kashmir affairs.

The prime minister had said on the occasion that by visiting Jammu and Kashmir, European MPs would get to know the cultural and religious variations of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

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