China has opposed the holding of a G20 meeting in Kashmir, while Turkey and Saudi Arabia have not registered for the event to be held in Srinagar.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that “China firmly opposes holding G20 meetings in any form in ‘disputed’ areas and will not attend such meetings.”
India countered the objection by saying it is free to hold meetings on its own territory. It said peace and tranquility on its border is essential for normal ties with China.
The 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group meeting will be held on May 22-24 in Srinagar amid heightened security in the region.
This is the first major international event in Jammu and Kashmir since its special status was scrapped in 2019 and it was bifurcated into two union territories.
Around 60 delegates from G20 countries are expected to attend the meeting in Srinagar. earlier it was expected that over 100 delegates would attend the meet.
Sources say Turkey has decided to stay away from the meeting, and Saudi Arabia has not registered for the event so far.
Srinagar is under an unprecedented security blanket. Marine commandos and National Security Guards (NSG) have been deployed in the region as part of the ground-to-air security cover.
Marines, also known as Marcos, have taken over the security of Dal Lake, around the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the venue for the G20 meeting. NSG commandos have been conducting area domination exercises along with police and paramilitary forces. On Thursday, NSG carried out searches at Lal Chowk.
Paramilitary troops were seen entering the houseboats and carrying out searches.
Houseboats are made of wood, including cedar, and have exquisite wood carvings. They represent the culture and age-old tradition of Kashmir.
Officials say the G20 event in Srinagar is to showcase Kashmir’s tourism potential and also send a message to the world that it is an integral part of the country.
The participation of member countries of the world’s most powerful club is seen as an endorsement of India’s stand.
Security forces have inputs that terrorists may try to carry out some major attack to disrupt the G20 event. Massive security operations are being carried out to prevent any such attempt. Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Jammu and Kashmir Police are part of the security grid in the region.
With inputs from NDTV