Friends of Pakistan shun India's G20 meet in Srinagar.

SRINAGAR -- India's presidency of the G20 group was mired in embarrassment on Monday, as it began a meeting on tourism in Srinagar amid boycott by China and Saudi Arabia and a very low-level participation from many other friends of Pakistan.

China already opposed the May 22-24 Working Group meet on Tourism in the internationally recognised disputed territory while other key members, including Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Mexico, also avoided a full-fledged participation in the event.

The three-day gathering is taking place at a well-guarded complex on the shores of Dal Lake in Srinagar. With the meeting, New Delhi had hoped to project an image of normalcy in the disputed territory, according to several media reports.

The meeting began amid clampdown in sensitive areas of the summer capital of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Soldiers and armoured vehicles were deployed at multiple locations in Srinagar.

India had turned the region into an equivalent of the Guantanamo Bay prison simply to hold a meeting on tourism, former IIOJK chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said.

She accused the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) of hijacking the G20 for its promotion.

The G20 is a group of 19 rich nations of the world plus the European Union. India holds the presidency of the grouping for 2023 and is holding several evens in various parts of the country, culminating in the G20 summit in New Delhi later this year.

This was the first major international event in IIOJK after Aug 5, 2019, when the BJP government stripped the region of its special status.

Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said his country opposed the G20 meetings on the disputed territory.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Mexico have reportedly opted for low-level representation. Turkiye, Egypt - special invitee - and several other countries did not confirm the participation of their official delegations till last night.

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), meanwhile, protest rallies were brought out in various cities to denounce the Srinagar meeting.

In Islamabad, a rally was staged by the All Parties Hurriyat Conference AJK and submitted a memorandum to the UN mission.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari visited Muzaffarabad, the capital of AJK, and addressed the AJK Legislative Assembly.

He termed the G20 gathering illegal, and an attempt by India to seek legitimacy over its control of the disputed region.

'India is misusing its position as G20 chair,'...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT