Security personnel at the spot where an IED exploded in Bijbehara town on Tuesday. Local authorities have reported no casualty due to the blast.
Security personnel at the spot where an IED exploded in Bijbehara town on Tuesday. Local authorities have reported no casualty due to the blast.

Envoys from Europe and Africa will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday to assess the development work and the security situation in the union territory, nearly 18 months after the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state.

The visit holds significance as it comes after the successful completion of the District Development Council elections and restoration of 4G mobile internet services.

The two-day visit is being arranged by the Ministry of External Affairs and will include a group of ambassadors and senior diplomats, mainly from European and African countries, to Kashmir Valley and Jammu.

This is the third such visit conducted by India for foreign envoys after the abrogation of Article 370 on 5 August 2019.

'Exercise to counter propaganda'

Officials said the envoys would receive first-hand information on the development work undertaken by the union territory administration after abrogation of the special status.

This is a diplomatic exercise being undertaken by the government to counter the propaganda that is being orchestrated by Pakistan at international foras, the officials said.

Showcasing the efforts of the Centre for ensuring democracy at the grass-root level, the newly-elected members of the DDC would meet, besides holding a meeting with a few prominent citizens and administrative secretaries.

Strengthening of democratic institutions at the grass-root level would be significantly highlighted, the officials said, adding that during a presentation, the envoys would be shown how panchayats have been empowered by giving them financial powers.

On the second day, the ambassadors would visit Jammu where they would be meeting Lt Gov Manoj Sinha besides some of the DDC members and representatives of some social organisations, they said.

The envoys would be briefed about the security situation by senior officers involved with the law-and-order situation in the Kashmir valley, especially Pakistan's attempts to push terrorists into India through the Line of Control and also about the frequent ceasefire violations, they said.

Third visit

This is the third visit by foreign dignitaries to the union territory since the revocation of its special status. Last year, envoys from 17 nations including the US had visited Jammu and Kashmir. The team had also comprised ambassadors from Vietnam, South Korea, Brazil, Uzbekistan, Niger, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Norway, Maldives, Fiji, Togo, Bangladesh, and Peru.

Three months after the Centre withdrew the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of the Constitution, and bifurcated it into two union territories, a delegation of 23 EU MPs was taken on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the region by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, a Delhi-based think tank.

(With PTI inputs)

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