Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place for the third G20 tourism working group meeting to be held in Srinagar starting Monday (22 May).
According to the G20 Chief Coordinator Harshvardhan Shringla, this three-day meeting will have higher participation of foreign delegates than the previous two meetings held in Gujarat and West Bengal.
Around 60 foreign delegates will join the gathering; however, not all G20 countries will attend. Singapore leads attendance among member nations, with High Commissioner Simon Wong as part of its delegation.
Bangladesh High Commissioner Mustafizur Rahman and South Korea Ambassador Chang Jae-bok will join other diplomats in meetings for the next three days.
On the choice of Srinagar for the event, Shringla said, "If you have to do a working group on tourism in India, we have to do it in Srinagar. There is no option."
Jammu and Kashmir is holding its first such international event since 2019, when it received the Union territory status.
The meeting aims to showcase India's cultural identity and tourism potential to the world, with a focus on sustainable, eco-friendly, and adventure tourism.
Its objectives also include bolstering economic growth, protecting cultural heritage, and ensuring sustainable development in the region.
Security measures for the G20 meeting in Srinagar reportedly entail reinforced CCTV surveillance, anti-drone systems, deployment of elite forces, and restrictions on civilian movement at key roadways.
For security and logistics reasons, the J&K administration has dropped Gulmarg from the itinerary. Security has also been strengthened in other parts of the Valley to prevent militant attempts to disrupt peace.
The police and paramilitary forces have been given the main responsibility of security, although some elite forces from the Centre have arrived. Various security and intelligence agencies are working together to prevent any militant action.
National Security Guard (NSG) and Marine Commandos have been deployed to protect the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre, the venue for the meeting, and its vicinity, according to official sources, as reported by The Indian Express.
J&K Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha believes the G20 meeting in Srinagar presents a "historic opportunity" for the region to display its culture, tourism, heritage, and hospitality, as expressed in his ‘Awaam Ki Awaaz’ Radio programme.
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