EU panel, slated to visit Kashmir tomorrow, meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval in Delhi

EU delegates met Narendra Modi and Ajit Doval in Delhi ahead of their visit to Kashmir to take stock of the situation in the Valley after the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A.

FP Staff October 28, 2019 15:17:08 IST
EU panel, slated to visit Kashmir tomorrow, meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NSA Ajit Doval in Delhi
  • European Union delegates met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in Delhi on Monday ahead of their visit to Kashmir on Tuesday to take stock of the situation in the Valley after the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A.

  • Modi, meeting the 28-member panel, said he hopes the visit is 'very fruitful'.

  • This will be the first international team to visit Kashmir since the abrogation of articles 35A and 370.

European Union delegates met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval in Delhi on Monday ahead of their visit to Kashmir on Tuesday to take stock of the situation in the Valley after the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A.

Modi, meeting the 28-member panel, said he hopes the visit is 'very fruitful'. He further added that their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give them a 'better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region' along with giving them a clear view about the development and governance priorities of the region.

The prime minister appreciated the importance the parliamentarians gave their relationship with India and stated: "Early conclusion of a fair and balanced Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) is a priority for my government."

He was further quoted by ANI as saying, "Urgent action must be taken against all those who support or sponsor terrorists or support such activities and organisations or use terrorism as a State policy. There should be zero tolerance for terrorism."

This will be the first international team to visit Kashmir since the abrogation of articles 35A and 370. ANI reported that Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu will meet the delegation today as well.

Mehbooba Mufti, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who was detained, took to Twitter, and said she hopes the delegation "gets a chance to speak to the people, local media, doctors and civil society members". She added that the 'iron curtain' must be lifted.

Former Union minister Subramanian Swamy slammed the visit, and claimed that he was surprised the Ministry of External Affairs arranged for such a meet in their private capacity. He urged the government to cancel the visit, and stated, "This is a perversion of our national policy."

The visit is said to be a part of an outreach programme to let an international team see for themselves that normalcy exists in the Valley and that several restrictions—which were imposed after the abrogation of the articles—have been eased.

However, last month, a US Senator who wished to see Kashmir first-hand was denied permission by the government.

The Indian Express quoted Chris Van Hollen the junior Senator from Maryland, as saying, "I wanted to visit Kashmir to see first-hand what was happening, but was not allowed by the Indian government. We had approached the government about a week ago, but were told it was not the right time to go there."

This comes amid repeated statements by India that Kashmir is an internal matter and that no third-party mediation is required, and that the Centre's move is constitutional.

The abrogation of articles 370 and 35A occurred on 5 August.

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