Adelegation 27 European MPs visited Srinagar on October 29 to assess the ground situation in Kashmir after the government gave permission for the”unofficial” visit. According to report published in ‘India Today’ The EU parliamentary delegation, comprising of MPs from UK, Poland, France and other countries interacted with local representatives in Kashmir valley to get a first-hand understanding of the situation over there. This is the first foreign delegation that has visited Kashmir after the government scrapped Article 370 in August. Speaking to the delegation earlier, NSA Ajit Doval said there normalcy has returned to most parts of the Valley and rejected Pakistan’s narrative on Kashmir.
Newton Dunn, a lawmaker from the UK sharing the experience of the visit said, “We belong to a place Europe which is peaceful after years of fighting. And we want to see India becoming the most peaceful country in the world. And for that we need to stand by India in its fight against global terrorism. This visit has been an eye opener and we would definitely advocate what we have seen on ground zero.”
“We are Indian citizens and we want to be Indian like all other Indian citizens… we want to have development like other parts of country, locals told us,” another lawmaker said. After a traditional Kashmiri welcome, the leaders were briefed by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam and police chief Dilbag Singh. The team also interacted with some newly-elected panchayat members and councillors.
Members of European Parliament called on PM Modi
Prime Minister said that India’s relationship with the European Union is based on shared interests and common commitment to democratic values. He said that an early conclusion of a fair and balanced BTIA is a priority for the government. Talking about the need to strengthen engagement with EU on regional and global matters, Prime Minister highlighted the importance of close international cooperation to fight terrorism. He also mentioned about the growth of International Solar Alliance as a global partnership.
Prime Minister, while welcoming the delegation to India, expressed the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir. Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region.