05/22/2023, 11.55
Send to a friend

Tourism meeting in Kashmir towards G20, but Beijing (and security) missing

The Chinese delegation had announced that it would not attend the three-day summit in Srinagar because it was 'disputed territory'. Pakistan and autonomist movements had also expressed their opposition to the event, the first in the region after the revocation of special status in 2019. India wants to promote natural and cultural heritage, but today the security agencies had to ask the delegates present to change route.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Kashmir issue is  again re-igniting tensions between Beijing and Delhi: a tourism summit starting today as part of India's G20 presidency will not be attended by the Chinese delegation.

The announcement was made by Beijing's foreign minister on 19 May and subsequently Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia also turned down India's invitation for the three-day summit to be held in Srinagar, the summer capital of the Jammu and Kashmir territory. Although India continues to promote the region as an idyllic tourist destination, there are many security concerns.

For New Delhi, Beijing's visit is no mean feat: it is the first international event to be held in Kashmir since 2019, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government rescinded the special status of the territory historically disputed with Pakistan, dividing it into two territories directly under the control of the federal government in New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir and the Himalayan region of Ladakh, areas in which New Delhi has ambitions to develop tourism.

Although Islamabad, unlike Beijing, is not a member of the expanded forum for international economic cooperation, it too, together with the Kashmiri autonomist movements, had contested the decision to hold the meeting in Srinagar, calling it an attempt to 'normalise' the situation.

China justified its boycott by saying that it does not participate in summits that take place 'in disputed territories'.

It should also be remembered that Beijing itself makes territorial claims over Ladakh, where the last bloody battle in the Himalayan mountains between its People's Liberation Army and the Indian military took place in 2020. Delhi for its part has responded harshly by claiming the right to choose 'any location on its territory' as the venue for G20 meetings.

India went on to explain that Kashmir's cultural heritage and the region's tourism potential, with a focus on 'film tourism', would be presented during the summit. Time and again, Kashmir has been described and promoted by Indian local authorities as 'paradise on earth'.

However, just today there was a last-minute change in the delegates' tour, recommended by the security agencies: the planned visits to Dachigam National Park in Srinagar and Gulmarg in northern Kashmir were suspended. In the days leading up to the meeting, India also held several drills due to an increase in attacks by suspected militants over the past year.

Elite forces were deployed and some schools were closed for more than a week as a precautionary measure. Security was also tightened around Dal Lake and the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar, the venue.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Asia, rain and pollution obscure the eclipse of the century
India blames Pakistan for Kabul bombing but continues peace talks
Demanding justice for Chinese workers and Tibetans at the G20
China and emerging countries with more power at the IMF
“There will be a world war over currency”


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”