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Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia Opt Out of Registration, China ‘Firmly Opposed’

While China has confirmed to not attend the planned G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Jammu and Kashmir next week, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have not yet registered for the summit, reports said on Saturday.

Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh had on Friday, according to The Hindu stated that a total of 60 international delegates have registered for the Third working group meeting to be held from May 22-24.

Singh said that 17 member countries of the G-20 have confirmed their participation, while China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are yet to register. Among the 9 invited countries, only Egypt has not registered at this point.

Meanwhile, China asserting that it is “firmly opposed” to holding such meetings in the “disputed territory”. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory.”

The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye, United Kingdom and United States and the European Union. The influential bloc represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.

While China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are G-20 members, Egypt holds a special invitee status for this year. Their decision not to attend what the government presents as the “first international event” in Jammu and Kashmir since the amendment of Article 370 in 2019 seems to carry diplomatic implications, according to reports.

Beijing have made references to the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. In response, India has consistently rejected such statements. The Ministry of External Affairs has reiterated India’s clear stance that the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh are integral and inalienable parts of India, with no other country having the authority to comment on the matter.

India will host the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir from May 22 to May 24.

According to The Hindu report, China’s non-participation in G-20 meetings held in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, territories it considers disputed, aligns with its decision not to send a delegation to Srinagar.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, all members of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), have been critical of India’s changes in Jammu and Kashmir. However, other OIC members such as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Oman, and the UAE have confirmed their participation in the event, as confirmed by the Tourism secretary. While Indonesia, a key “Troika” member alongside India and Brazil, will only send a single diplomat from its Embassy in Delhi, the publication said citing sources.

Security Beefed Up

Ahead of the upcoming G-20 working group meeting on tourism at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), security measures have been significantly strengthened, according to officials. To ensure the smooth execution of this high-profile event, elite NSG (National Security Guard) and marine commandos have been deployed alongside the police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and other paramilitary forces personnel. The city has experienced a robust deployment of security forces for area dominance and sanitization exercises.

In order to prevent any potential threats, random vehicle checks are being conducted to ensure that no subversive elements can enter the city. The officials have planned a comprehensive three-layer security arrangement for the event. Furthermore, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have implemented anti-drone measures, declaring the city a no-drone zone until the conclusion of the event.

The administration is making every effort to present a grand spectacle for the delegates arriving in the city. The routes expected to be used by foreign delegates have been enhanced in preparation for the meeting.

Various projects from the Srinagar Smart City initiative have been prioritised and implemented, ahead of the international event.

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