New Delhi: With the G20 Tourism Working Group’s meeting which is scheduled to take place in Srinagar, less than two weeks away, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday is learnt to have held a high level meeting to review the preparations for it.
Highly-placed sources said that though the meeting took stock of several deliberations taking place across the country under India’s G20 presidency, its main focus was learnt to be on the forthcoming meeting in Srinagar, especially in the light of Pakistan’s objections to India holding G20 deliberations in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to sources, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, P.K. Mishra chaired the review meeting, where senior officials from around 12 key ministries were present.
The Joint Secretary level officials from some important ministries like Finance, Commerce, Environment, and Tourism among others were present in the meeting, sources said, adding that Mishra was briefed about the preparations being made for the forthcoming meeting in Srinagar.
The Prime Minister, who has been busy with campaigning for Karnataka Assembly elections for the past week, is likely to be briefed about the preparations underway for the Srinagar meeting, sources informed.
The meeting mainly focused on the preparations for the G20’s Tourism Working Group, which is taking place in Srinagar between May 22 and 24.
Sources informed that though the meeting is just part of the several deliberations and interactions which are taking place under India’s G20 presidency in various parts of the country, it holds a lot of significance, mainly owing to the fact that last month, Pakistan’s foreign office had raised objections to India’s plans to hold the above mentioned meeting in Srinagar.
Pakistan had claimed that such events were aimed at perpetuating India’s “illegal occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The meetings and events of G20 are being held across India. They are being organised in every region of India and it is very natural to have these meetings in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had told the media last month following Pakistan’s objections.
Bagchi had further said that “these places have always been an integral and inalienable part of India and they are ours. I will only say these meetings are being held in every region. This is our natural response”.
In fact Pakistan had even protested last year, when details had started emerging that India plans to hold some G20 engagements in Jammu and Kashmir.