Third G20 Tourism Meeting sends a message of progress to the world
By successfully organizing the third G20 Tourism working group meeting in the Kashmir valley, India has sent out a loud and clear message to the global audience that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it is ready to ‘unlock’ the tourism potential of the region to boost economic growth and generate employment opportunities for the unemployed youth.
While making this bold statement India has also asserted its position in front of the majority of member countries.
The G20 working group meeting was attended by 17 out of 20 member countries ignoring ‘unethical’ bullying by China as it chose to boycott the gathering.
The participation of these countries including the European Union in the meeting means that Jammu and Kashmir is no longer a disputed issue for them.
Although Turkey and Saudi Arabia distanced themselves from it at the last moment, both countries did not make any adverse comments in this regard.
It may be noted that since the very beginning, China and Pakistan have been doing propaganda regarding the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. During that time Pakistan also got the support of Turkey.
Describing Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory, China had announced its boycott opposing the holding of G20 meetings here. Describing Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of the country, India had said that it has the right to hold the meeting anywhere in its territory.
Government sources say that these two countries distanced themselves from the meeting due to the pressure created by Pakistan in the Organization of Islamic Countries. Since India had helped Turkey a lot in the earthquake last year, Turkey did not make any adverse comments despite staying away from the meeting under pressure.
The event was a big diplomatic success. 60 delegates from 17 powerful countries including America, Russia, Canada, European Union, Britain, Germany, and South Africa participated in the meeting. Experts are considering it a major diplomatic success. The participation of these countries in the meeting means that Jammu and Kashmir is no longer a disputed issue for them.
Government sources are especially considering the participation of the European Union as very important. That is because the European Union has been questioning the alleged human rights violations in the state several times. The participation of 17 powerful countries is also important because these countries did not hesitate to attend the meeting of the working group despite the threats of terrorism.
That too when it was revealed before the meeting that the Pakistani intelligence agency wanted to carry out the incident here on the lines of the Mumbai terror attack. In view of the terrorist threat, India has made strict security arrangements. The security contingent comprises several companies of NSG, Marine commandos, and paramilitary forces.
By successfully hosting the gathering the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken Jammu and Kashmir to new heights.
Srinagar, which hosted the first international summit after the abrogation of Article 370, has rekindled hopes of a better and safer future for the Himalayan region.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the general public across Kashmir Valley has realized the importance and urgent need for economic revival and economic reconstruction to secure a better future. It is the common will of the masses that they take part in the inclusive growth of tourism and other economic sectors. They are convinced that the G20 summit offers a developmental approach based on an aspirational, integrative, green, inclusive, and resilient tourism model that will boost local handloom products and other artisans.
20 million tourists expected to visit Jammu and Kashmir: Tourism Minister
Union Minister for Tourism G Kishan Reddy has said that Jammu and Kashmir are gearing up to host at least 20 million tourists this year. He also added the Union government is aiming to introduce 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for world-class tourism infrastructure.
“In the year 2022, 1.84 crore tourists visited J&K and this year, we expect 20 million tourist arrivals including foreign guests,” Reddy told reporters on the sidelines of the G20 Working group meeting.
The Minister said that India is also mulling 100 percent FDI for world-class Tourism infrastructure across the country with a special focus on J&K.
Reddy said that G20 events are being held across the country. “In every State of the country, G20 events are being held. It’s a great pride for Srinagar to host a mega event. This event will surely pay back in the form of a rise in the tourist influx,” he said.
“We are also going to declare a National Tourism Policy for India soon. We are planning a Global Tourism Investment Summit,” Reddy added.
Kashmir has undergone transformation post Abrogation of Art 370: Dr. Jitendra Singh
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh has said that Kashmir has undergone transformation and there are no takers for the strike calls given by Islamabad as people have moved on.
The Minister while addressing the delegates from G20 countries at a side event on “Film Tourism for Economic and Cultural Preservation” said that there has been a sea change in Kashmir.
“This change has happened. Common people on the streets of Srinagar want to move on. They have lost two generations (due to militancy),” he said.
While referring to the G20 Tourism Group meeting being held here in Srinagar, Singh said: “If such an event was held earlier, a strike call would be given from Islamabad and shops on Residency Road (in the city centre of) Srinagar would close. Now there is no hartal even if the call for hartal has come from here or there.”
Singh told reporters that there has been a decline in the development and progress of Kashmir after 1990. “I believe that Kashmir has the potential to become another Hyderabad. The Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) was established to host international conferences. Two generations have been affected by terror, but the younger generation has realized the importance of not wasting their energy and youthful years on it. Kashmir is an integral part of PM Modi’s vision for progress,” he said.
Later addressing a press conference, the Minister said that holding the G20 meeting in Srinagar is an achievement in itself.
“I am sure that the delegates coming from other places would be able to falsify the kind of narrative and perception which was created either by the vested interests on the one hand or some self-styled cynics, and commentators on the other,” he said.
“I thank PM Narendra Modi for choosing Srinagar for the G20 event along with other cities of the country,” he added.
Jammu and Kashmir can host international events: LG Manoj Sinha
Expressing his gratitude to the prime minister for providing the historic opportunity for Jammu and Kashmir to host the G20 working group meeting on tourism, LG Manoj Sinha said the administration is committed to promoting sustainable tourism.
“The ongoing working group meeting is the biggest in terms of attendance. Fifty-nine delegates from 27 countries are participating in the working group meeting,” he said, adding, “We have tried to take tourism to greater heights in J-K while taking care of the environment”.
“We wanted to take our delegates to Gulmarg. But due to logistics issues, we cannot do it this time,” he said, adding that those who still want to go, will be taken to the famous ski resort in north Kashmir.
The LG said the conduct of the third tourism working group meeting has shown that Jammu and Kashmir can host international events.
“We are capable enough to host any international event. If there are any shortcomings, we have got them in the legacy. We have picked up pace, but it will take time to fill the void of 70 years,” he said.
Asked about Pakistani Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto’s remarks on the meeting in Kashmir, Sinha said the neighbouring country should focus on feeding its own people.
“I think our neighbouring nation should make arrangements for feeding its people and for providing basic amenities. We have come a long way from there. G20 is a matter of pride for us,” he said.
Kashmir untapped destination for the film industry: Ram Charan
The Film star Ram Charan has said that Kashmir is the coolest place to shoot in India. He also said it is an untapped destination for the film industry and it will take 95 years for them to explore it.
The actor was speaking at the ‘Film Tourism for Economic and Cultural Preservation’ event here at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), being hosted as a part of the three-day Tourism Working Group Meeting of the G20 countries.
While highlighting the potential for filming in Kashmir, the Telugu star said that it is an untapped destination and will take them another 95 years to explore Kashmir.
“I have shot in this auditorium (SKICC) in 2016. So, visiting Kashmir feels like an achievement for me. This is such a surreal feeling. It has been 95 years of existence of the film industry, (but) it will take them another 95 years to explore Kashmir. It is untapped, it is virgin,” he said.
Charan said that Kashmir is the coolest place to shoot in India. “It will sound cliche, but the coolest place to shoot in India is Kashmir. I am a second-generation actor. My dad (Chiranjeevi) has shot extensively in Kashmir,” the actor said.
Charan said he visited Kashmir for the first time in 1986 and last shot for a movie in the Valley in 2016.
“I want to explore India more. I do not want to travel abroad for my next two movies unless the producer is from Hollywood,” he said.
Charan’s last big screen outing was the global blockbuster “RRR”, directed by S S Rajamouli. The period action film won the best original song award for its Telugu track “Natu Natu” at this year’s Oscars. The actor also enthralled the audience with the Naatu Naatu dance sequence.
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