The G20 summit in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, is set to begin with tight security. It is the first major international event in the region since the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019. The three-day summit, from May 22-24, will focus on tourism and is under a three-tier security grid. Over 60 delegates and 20 journalists from different parts of the world are expected to attend. Security measures include the deployment of National Security Guard (NSG) and MARCOS commandos, as well as local police personnel.
The G20 Summit, specifically the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting, is set to commence in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. This event holds significant importance as it is the first major international gathering in the region since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019. The three-day summit, from May 22-24, is expected to boost tourism and business in the region. Strict security measures have been implemented, considering the sensitive nature of the area.
Preparations and Decorations in Srinagar
Srinagar, beautifully adorned for the occasion, awaits the arrival of G20 delegates. The city’s streets are lined with G20 logos, smart city messages, and freshly paved roads, leading from Srinagar International Airport to the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the summit’s venue. The authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the event, expecting around 60 delegates and 20 journalists from various parts of the world.
In light of potential security threats, Kashmir has been placed under a three-tier security grid. National Security Guard (NSG) and MARCOS commandos, along with local police personnel, have been deployed to ensure the safety of the event. The Special Operations Group (SOG) of the Jammu and Kashmir Police is also involved in maintaining security. These measures were prompted by intelligence reports suggesting a possible terrorist plan similar to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
International Participation and Objectives
The G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar is an opportunity for Jammu and Kashmir to showcase its scenic beauty, handicrafts, cuisine, and cultural heritage to over 100 delegates. In addition to G20 member countries, several guest countries, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain, and the UAE, have been invited to participate. The event aims to focus on priority areas such as green tourism, digitalization, skills development, tourism MSMEs, and destination management to promote sustainable development in the region.
Film Tourism and Cultural Preservation
A significant side event on “Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation” is scheduled during the G20 Summit. The focus will be on strategies to promote film tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, with participation expected from G20 member countries, invited countries, international organizations, and industry stakeholders. The event will also unveil a draft “National Strategy on Film Tourism” to outline the role of films in promoting tourist destinations.
Chinese Opposition and Security Precautions
China has expressed opposition to holding the G20 meeting in Kashmir, citing it as a disputed area, and has announced its non-attendance. Consequently, robust security measures have been implemented in Srinagar. Marine commandos, National Security Guards, and anti-drone units are deployed to ensure airspace security. Joint security forces comprising the Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Jammu and Kashmir Police are collaborating to maintain law and order. Traffic restrictions have been imposed along the delegates’ travel route, and special passes have been issued to businesses in the Lal Chowk area to ensure smooth operations.
Positive Impact on Tourism and Investments
Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha expressed hope that the successful G20 Tourism Working Group meeting would have a positive impact on tourism and investments in Jammu and Kashmir. The event provides an opportunity to showcase the region’s tourism potential, attracting international visitors and investors. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and diverse cuisine, Jammu and Kashmir have immense potential to emerge as a popular tourist destination.
Local Economy and Employment
The G20 Summit not only brings global attention to Jammu and Kashmir but also presents an opportunity to boost the local economy and generate employment. The influx of delegates, journalists, and other participants stimulates the hospitality industry, including hotels, restaurants, and transportation services. Additionally, the summit can lead to collaborations and investments in various sectors, contributing to job creation and economic growth in the region.
Sustainable Development and Green Tourism
One of the key objectives of the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting is to promote sustainable development and green tourism practices. Jammu and Kashmir’s natural beauty makes it an ideal candidate for eco-tourism initiatives. The summit provides a platform to discuss strategies for preserving the environment, promoting responsible tourism, and leveraging technology to minimize the ecological footprint of the tourism industry.
Showcasing Handicrafts and Cultural Heritage
Jammu and Kashmir are renowned for their exquisite handicrafts, traditional art forms, and cultural heritage. The G20 Summit offers an excellent opportunity to showcase these unique aspects to a global audience. Exhibitions, demonstrations, and cultural events can provide a glimpse into the rich artistic traditions of the region, attracting attention and potential collaborations from international buyers and art enthusiasts.
Challenges and the Way Forward
While the G20 Summit in Srinagar holds great promise, there are challenges that need to be addressed. The security situation in the region remains a concern, with heightened vigilance necessary to ensure a safe and incident-free event. Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of complexity, requiring strict adherence to health and safety protocols.
Looking ahead, the successful hosting of the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting can pave the way for more international conferences, events, and investments in Jammu and Kashmir. It serves as a testament to the region’s potential as a vibrant tourist destination and highlights the progress made in restoring normalcy and fostering development. The positive outcomes of the summit, such as increased tourism, economic growth, and cultural exchange, have the potential to bring long-term benefits to Jammu and Kashmir and its people.
The G20 Summit in Srinagar marks a significant milestone for Jammu and Kashmir, providing an opportunity to showcase its tourism potential, cultural heritage, and investment opportunities on the global stage. With enhanced security measures in place, the event aims to promote sustainable development, green tourism, and cultural preservation. The successful hosting of the summit can boost the local economy, generate employment, and attract international visitors and investors to the region. While challenges exist, the event represents a step forward in realizing the region’s tourism potential and fostering growth and development in Jammu and Kashmir.
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