20 foreign envoys reach Srinagar to assess situation in J&K since DDC election, abrogation of Article 370

A delegation of foreign envoys from the European Union has arrived in Srinagar for a two-day tour of Jammu and Kashmir to assess the ground situation in the Union Territory over a year after the abrogation of Article 370 and the recent District Development Council (DDC) poll.

The 20-member delegation reached Srinagar amid heightened security arrangements on Wednesday. The delegation is scheduled to visit Jammu on Thursday.

The team includes envoys from Europe and African nations, including Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, EU, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, Malawi, Eritrea, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Malaysia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan.

According to sources, the group of foreign envoys is expected to hold interactions with members of the civil society, members of the recently elected DDC, and the traders’ community. The aim is to “showcase” the ground situation in the region.

Showcasing the efforts of the Centre for ensuring democracy at the grassroots level, the newly elected members of DDC would be meeting the foreign envoys besides holding a meeting with a few prominent citizens and administrative secretaries.

Strengthening of democratic institutions at the grassroots level would be significantly highlighted, officials said, adding that during a presentation, the envoys would be shown how panchayats have been empowered by giving them financial powers.

On the second day, the ambassadors will visit Jammu where they are scheduled to meet Lt Gov Manoj Sinha besides some of the DDC members and representatives of some social organisations.

Last year, envoys from 17 nations, including the US, had visited Jammu and Kashmir. The team also comprised ambassadors from Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh and Peru.

(With inputs from PTI)

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