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EU envoys to visit Jammu and Kashmir at later date: Government sources

NEW DELHI: After countries from the European Union reportedly said that they will not be part of a foreign delegation visiting Jammu and Kashmir on the Centre’s initiative on Thursday, the government quickly got into the act by claiming that such claims were ‘unfounded’ and ‘mischievous’ and that the EU Ambassadors will undertake a trip to J&K at a later date.

According to sources in the government, reports that some EU Ambassadors didn’t want to be part of the group of envoys visiting J&K due to certain restrictions in the programme were unfounded and mischievous.

Earlier it was reported that certain European envoys were not keen on a ‘guided tour’ of J&K and rather wanted to meet the people they wanted to interact with.

As things stand now, around 16 envoys, primarily from Latin American and African countries, will be travelling to J&K on Thursday where they will meet civil society members and will be briefed on the security situation in the newly-formed Union Territory.

In October 2019, a delegation of European Parliamentarians had visited the Valley.

The sources in the government said that it wanted to take a global group of envoys to J&K with only some EU Ambassadors, and not all EU envoys were asked to join.

“EU envoys welcomed this initiative by the government. However, EU envoys wanted to visit J&K as a group, which was not possible to accommodate due to restrictions in numbers and to keep the group broad-based.

“Some EU Ambassadors conveyed that the visit was taking place at a short notice. The group was free to interact with people subject to security considerations. In any case, no Ambassador had specifically asked to meet anyone who was detained.

“It was therefore decided that a group of EU Ambassadors will undertake a trip to J&K at a later date,” the government sources said.