G20 In Srinagar: Turkey, Saudi skip registration, China wont attend meeting in ‘Disputed’ Kashmir
THREE DAYS before the G20 tourism working group meeting begins in Srinagar on Monday, three countries – China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – had not registered till Friday.
A PTI report from Beijing quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying: “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory… We will not attend such meetings.”
There was no official word from Turkey or Saudi Arabia.
However, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh said the window to register would remain open till the morning of May 22.
Besides India, the G20 includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States, and the European Union.
Officials confirmed that delegates from the remaining countries have signed up for the three-day event.
Besides G20 members, delegates from guest countries and several international organisations have also been invited. These include Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE. Officials said that barring Egypt, all other countries have registered to send their delegates.
The Srinagar G20 meet will be the first major international event in Jammu and Kashmir since August 2019, when the state was divided into two UTs — J&K and Ladakh — and its special status under Article 370 of the Constitution was revoked.
On the sidelines, a major event will also be held to highlight film tourism, which the UT administration has been promoting in a big way in the last few years. While the inaugural day is devoted to cultural events, the deliberations will be held on the second day. Another side event highlighting eco-tourism has also been planned.
This is the third meeting of the tourism working group, after the ones held in Rann of Kutch and Siliguri/Darjeeling. Besides Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy and MoS Jitendra Singh, the event will see the presence of G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant and G20 Chief Coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla, officials said.
Singh said that the discussions of the first two tourism working group meetings will be taken further during the third meeting as well before the drafting of the final ministerial communique. The fourth meeting of the tourism track group, in Goa next month, will be followed by a ministerial meeting.
Meanwhile, ahead of the meeting in Srinagar, officials said security arrangements are being supervised directly by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the city has been spruced up to host the delegates. A visit to one of the Smart City projects in Srinagar is also likely to be included. Officials said that hotel staff and emergency-service providers have also been sensitised.