Kashmir Likely Venue For Pre-G20 Meetings in India Next Year
13:20 GMT 21.09.2022 (Updated: 18:02 GMT 08.12.2022)
China and Pakistan have both raised objections over reports that India aims to hold G20-related events in Jammu and Kashmir, as both Beijing and Islamabad hold territorial claims in the region. An ongoing anti-India insurgency has kept the security situation in Kasmir fragile for the last three decades.
The Indian government is likely to maintain the Jammu and Kashmir union territory as one of the venues for meetings that will be held ahead of the G20 summit in Delhi, media reports claimed on Wednesday.
According to the Indian Express, discussions on the matter were held in Himachal Pradesh during the ongoing State Tourism Ministers’ Conference.
More than 200 meetings are reportedly scheduled across India ahead of the G20 Summit on September 9 and 10, 2023, with others due to be held in Goa Siliguri in West Bengal state and Rann of Kutch in Gujarat state, the home of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While pre-summit meetings in other parts of India will not be an issue for the participating countries or India’s neighbors, keeping Kashmir as one of the venues for the meetings may create some ripples through diplomatic circles.
Pakistan had earlier rejected attempts by India to hold G20-related meetings in Jammu and Kashmir after news reports indicated that Delhi was planning to use the territory disputed by both nuclear powers.
“Contemplating the holding of any G20-related meeting/event in JK, in utter disregard of the globally acknowledged ‘disputed’ status of the territory, is a travesty that the international community cannot accept under any circumstances,” Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad said in a statement on June 26.
China also backed Pakistan’s statement in a press conference held by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian in Beijing. The spokesperson said "we call on all major economies to focus on steady recovery of the world economy, avoid politicizing relevant cooperation and make positive contributions to improving global economic governance."
"China's position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear-cut. The Kashmir issue, a dispute left from the past, should be peacefully and properly addressed in accordance with the UN Charter, Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreement," Zhao said.
Three senior government officials in Jammu and Kashmir did not respond to Sputnik’s requests for comments.
A senior government official, on the condition of anonymity, however, said that a complete plan to hold G20 meetings in Kashmir is yet to be received by field officers.
“We can only make comments when we receive a comprehensive plan and study it,” the senior officer told Sputnik.