Egypt and Oman, along with China, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, decided not to attend a G20 tourism working group meeting held in Kashmir. The event marked the first major international gathering in the region since the revocation of Article 370 in 2019, which withdrew Jammu & Kashmir's special status.
Egypt, a special guest at the G20 event, had its president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as the main guest at India's Republic Day parade earlier this year. There was also speculation that Indonesia would skip the event, but sent representatives from its mission to New Delhi.
Notably, the trade delegations of Saudi Arabia and Turkey were present at the tourism meeting, while China and Egypt were absent. China publicly announced its non-attendance due to the Kashmir issue, while Turkey and Saudi Arabia did not officially register for the event.
Diplomatic explained that Turkey's absence was expected, considering its previous position on Kashmir and its close association with China. However, Egypt's non-participation came as a surprise, given the growing partnership between Egypt and India, which was upgraded to a "strategic partnership" earlier this year.
China has declared that it will not participate in the G20 meeting, citing its opposition to holding such meetings in disputed territories. Pakistan, which also claims Kashmir but is not a member of the G20, has criticized the meeting as irresponsible.
Fernand de Varennes, the UN special rapporteur on minority issues, issued a statement expressing concern that the G20 meeting could normalize human rights violations and political persecution in Kashmir. India's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva dismissed the statement as unfounded, saying that India has the right to host G20 meetings anywhere in the country.
G20 Delegates gather in Kashmir
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union have come together to participate in the three events G20 one day in Kashmir.
The delegates arrived at Srinagar Airport from Delhi on a chartered flight provided by AirAsia at around 10:30 AM. They were warmly received by Bhavna Saxena, G20 joint secretary, and other senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government.
This G20 meeting, which will take place from May 22-25, marks a major international event in Kashmir since the revocation of the region's special status under Article 370 in August 2019.
J&K Hosts G20 Meeting
Union Minister Jitendra Singh hailed India's decision to host the G20 meeting in Jammu and Kashmir, noting the opportunity to dispel misconceptions about the region. He said that the resilience and aspirations of the Kashmiri people, who have overcome the challenges of terrorism and want to be a part of India's growth story.
Harsh Shringla, Senior Coordinator of India's G20 Presidency, highlights the tangible benefits of hosting the tourism gathering at J&K, aligning with the goal of attracting 20 million tourists to the region.
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