EU Lawmakers' Visit Part of People-to-people Contact, Not 'Internationalisation' of Kashmir Issue, Says Centre
New Delhi: The visit by EU MPs to Jammu and Kashmir was not at all internationalisation of the issue and such delegations do not necessarily have to come through official channels, the Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday.
In its first comments on the issue, the ministry also said the important point was whether such an engagement serves larger national interests.
In the first visit by a foreign delegation, a team of 23 MEPs travelled to Kashmir on Tuesday on a two-day trip to have a first-hand assessment of the situation after the state's special status was revoked in August by abrogating provisions of Article 370. Nearly three months after the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the government allowed a first such group to travel to Srinagar in order to assess the ground situation.
The visit was shrouded in controversy over its organisation and arrangements made by a "business broker" even as Indian opposition leaders have been kept waiting for access.
"We feel that such exchanges are part of people-to-people contacts," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, adding that the visit was not at all internationalisation of the Kashmir issue.
Kumar also asserted that the views of MEPs reflected their understanding of ground realities and threat of terrorism in Kashmir. The visit was not ceding of ground on Kashmir, he added.
(With inputs from PTI)