GOI set to host another visit by foreign diplomats to J-K: Report

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The central government  is making preparations to organise a second visit of diplomats, including several European Ambassadors to visit Srinagar and Jammu next week, The Hindu reported.

Quoting sources the newspaper reported, about 20 to 25 envoys from “different geographical regions” are being invited to join the delegation.

Unlike the last visit in January, when European Union (EU) members declined to travel, and asked to be sent as a combined group of 27 members, this time, several members of the EU have agreed to visit, sources said.

On Friday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met the EU Heads of Mission (HOMs) in South Block, where he is understood to have discussed his upcoming visit, the planned visit of envoys to Jammu and Kashmir as well as concerns against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which are likely to come up during his visit to Europe.

The visit will also include a briefing by Army officials, and meetings with civil society members and politicians chosen by the government.

Diplomatic sources said negotiations over the scope and schedule of the proposed visit have been on for the past month, and had run into issues over the specific demands by the European diplomats to meet detained former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.

It is unlikely that these demands would be met this time either, as the government has just charged all of them under the stringent Public Safety Act.

Both the officials and diplomats said they would aim to avoid some of the controversies that cropped up during previous visits by the diplomats, as well as one by a delegation of MEPs to Kashmir in October 2019.

On Friday, Mr. Jaishankar met with the EU Heads of Mission (HOMs) in South Block, where he is understood to have discussed his upcoming visit, the planned visit of envoys to Jammu and Kashmir as well as concerns against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which are likely to come up during his visit to Europe.

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