By Tenzin Nyidon
DHARAMSHALA, May 23: India’s G20 Presidency is facing resistance after China skipped the ‘Third Tourism Working Group Meeting’ which is underway in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir from Monday to Wednesday. The ongoing meeting is attended by more than 60 foreign delegates although some countries gave it a miss including Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt.
China, a close ally of Pakistan boycotted the meeting and said they will not attend the meeting to avoid any controversy. Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson, Wang Wenbin on May 19 issued a firm statement, “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meeting in disputed areas.” China has earlier made it clear that it will not attend any meetings in Ladakh, a disputed territory along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China which both countries claim parts of.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari condemned India’s move to hold the G20 meeting in the disputed region that is not a part of the G20, adding, “India is misusing its position as a Chair of the G20, a forum created to address global financial and economic issues with utter disregard for the Security Council resolution, the UN Charter and its principle.”
Despite the controversy, Indian authorities have developed the meeting in the hopes to show Kashmir as a region of “peace and prosperity”. The international forum is made up of the world’s 20 largest economies and has a rolling presidency each year. India will hold the 2023 Presidency and is set to host the annual summit in September.
The ongoing meeting, a tourism working group is the region’s first significant event since New Delhi stripped Kashmir of semi-autonomy by revoking its statehood thus, bringing the region under its direct control in August 2019, leading to the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into union territories, Jammu and Kashmir and, Ladakh.