Envoys from 15 countries including Nigeria arrived in Indian-controlled Kashmir yesterday, the first visit by New Delhi-based diplomats since the government stripped the region of its semi-autonomous status and began a harsh crackdown five months ago.
The diplomats were driven by Indian authorities in a motorcade amid tight security from the airport to the military headquarters in Srinagar, where they were briefed on the security situation, an army officer said.
They also held discussions with civil society members and some Kashmiri politicians, said Raveesh Kumar, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman. The objective of the visit, organized by the Indian government, was for the envoys to see first-hand “how things have progressed and how normalcy has been restored to a large extent” in Kashmir since August, Kumar told reporters in New Delhi.
Diplomats representing the United States, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Norway, the Maldives, South Korea, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Argentina, the Philippines, Fiji, Uzbekistan, Peru and Togo comprised the delegation visiting yesterday.
The offices, shops and businesses were open in Srinagar on a cold winter day, but the diplomats did not stop to talk to people as they moved to different venues of their meetings.
They were to fly to Jammu, the winter capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, as at press time and return to the Indian capital on Friday after spending a day there.