New Delhi, Feb 14 In yet another setback for Pakistan's disinformation campaign on Kashmir, the majority of the foreign envoys who recently visited the valley have expressed satisfaction with the gradual restoration of normalcy in the region.
A group of 25 foreign heads of missions representing various countries visited Kashmir two days ago to assess the situation following the reorganisation of erstwhile Jammu & Kashmir state into a Union Territory and revocation of its special status on August 5, last year.
The envoys of Afghanistan, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, European Union, France, Germany, Guinea, Hungary, Italy, Kenya, Kyrgyz, Mexico, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Rwanda, Slovak, Tajikistan, Uganda and Uzbekistan visited the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in the second round of visits after the envoys of 16 countries including US Ambassador to India, Kenneth Juster, had made a trip in January.
Juster in his report to the US had given a positive review on the situation of Kashmir, encouraging the government in New Delhi to facilitate another trip. The second group of envoys have acknowledged that life in Kashmir has been restored to its routine.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps in India, Ambassador Hans Dannenberg Castellanos said, "We have come here to see normalisation of situation after abrogation of Article 370. We have seen commerce happening, streets full of people, normalcy returning, slowly but surely."
Similarly, Afghanistan's envoy to India, Tahir Qadiry during his visit, tweeted that it was "good to see the 'mehman nawaz' (hospitable) people of Kashmir. We have been here only a couple of hours but can see shops open, children going to school etc. Met civil society members also, they really want peace in Kashmir."
Describing Kashmir as a very important part of India, Uganda's High Commissioner to India, Dinah Grace Akello said that the people she talked to want the region to be developed. "I met people from sports, those interested in economic growth and those who want to bring investors here. I see a lot of hope now," she said.
Ambassador of Denmark to India Freddy Svane said that the visit was important to understand the expectations and wishes of Kashmiri people and to get a "holistic picture". While German Ambassador Walter Lindner refrained from giving "any hasty reaction", he too was glad that he got the opportunity to talk to people directly.
Ambassador of Mexico to India, F.S. Lotf praised the efforts of the government for normalisation. "We have got the full picture of what's happening here. It seems normalcy is returning. It doesn't mean that there are no difficulties. But, there is a willingness to improve the situation; authorities are eager to make it happen," he said.
The envoys also met Chief Justice of J&K High Court Gita Mittal, Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subbu and Lt. Governor G.S. Murmu. "All three of them were thorough in explaining to us the roadmap on how things would progress," Ambassador Castellanos said.
( With inputs from IANS )