India is all set to hold a three-day summit of the Group of 20 (G20) in Jammu and Kashmir's Srinagar amid heavy security arrangements. The meeting which is to be held between May 22-24 will focus on tourism. According to G20 Chief Coordinator Harshvardhan Shringla Sunday, the three-day meeting will see the highest participation of foreign delegates as compared to the two previous meetings. This will be the first time that the state will host a major international event since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019
Pakistan foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who recently attended a meeting in Goa, visited PoK on Sunday and is likely to organise a so-called "protest rally in support of Kashmir". It is not possible for India to play an important role in the world by violating UN resolutions," Pakistani English Daily Dawn quoted him as saying after reaching PoK.
“At a time when India is holding a conference in Kashmir, I have been invited to deliver an address to the Assembly,” he added. This exhibits Pakistan's vexation. Besides, Pakistan, China also protested against India's decision to hold a crucial G20 event in Srinagar
Security beefed up
Stringent security arrangements are in place across the Kashmir Valley to ensure that the high-profile event passes off peacefully.
The route from Srinagar airport to Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) -- the venue of the meeting -- has been given a massive facelift with the G20 logo painted on walls and hoardings installed to welcome the delegates, they said.
The officials said the Gulmarg tourist resort in north Kashmir, where a meeting is also scheduled, has been beautified too. Authorities are taking no chances and have beefed up security across the valley in view of the G20 meeting.
Elite NSG and Marine Commandos are helping the police and the paramilitary forces to secure the venues of the event, the officials said. They said massive sanitisation and area domination exercises have been carried out in the areas around the venues, along the route and in vulnerable spots of the city.
From Zabarwan hills to Dal Lake, Srinagar under watchful eyes
Counter-drone teams of the elite NSG are scanning the sky, marine commandos of the navy patrolling the picturesque Dal Lake and scores of security personnel are on vigil on the ground to ensure a safe and secure G20 meeting.
Preparing to receive at least 60 delegates and 20 journalists from different parts of the world, the authorities in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir have made elaborate arrangements for the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).
Aiming to ensure minimum policing and maximum security, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has roped in the army to cover the higher reaches of the Zabarwan Range overlooking the meeting venue and accommodation facilities for the guests.
Traffic police issues advisory
Authorities in Kashmir on Saturday issued a traffic advisory in view of the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting to be held here next week. Issued by Senior Superintendent of Police, Traffic City Srinagar, Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, the advisory will remain in effect on May 22 and 23.
According to the advisory, the Boulevard Road around the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) – the venue of the meeting – will remain a no-go zone for the two days.
"G20 meeting-related events are scheduled to be held at the SKICC on May 22 and 23, and a large number of delegates from India and abroad are expected to attend," it stated.
The advisory said traffic movement on Boulevard Road from Nehru Park and Gupkar up to Kralsangri will be restricted from 10:30 am till 10:00 pm on Monday.
LG Sinha appeals to people to cooperate
The success of the upcoming tourism working group meeting of the G-20 countries will result in an increase in the influx of tourists and investments in Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said.
All arrangements have been put in place with the cooperation of the people of the union territory, Sinha said after inaugurating the six-km stretch of the Jhelum River Front at Rajbagh.
The preparations have been done for the event by the administration and people of J-K, he said, adding that the masses have hugely lent their cooperation.
The LG expressed hope that the administration with the cooperation of the people will put up a grand show "the success of which will send a message across the world".
"It will result in an increase in tourism and investments in the days to come, and the whole world will get to see the traditional hospitality of Kashmir," Sinha said