G20 in Kashmir: Countdown begins, expectations mount

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

SRINAGAR: As the countdown for the G20 summit begins, expectations have reached a crescendo in Kashmir.

Kashmir Inc is looking forward to meeting the delegates to hard sell Kashmir in a bid to boost trade, commerce, and tourism.

“We are expecting to meet the delegates and promote our trade and commerce. We are awaiting a formal invite. If we get it, we will present our case before G20 delegates and promote trade and commerce,” Javaid Tenga, president Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) told The Kashmir Monitor.

The third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting will be held at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Center (SKICC) from May 22 to 24. The first Working Group meeting was held in February at Rann of Kutch in Gujarat. The second meeting was held from April 1 to 3 in Siliguri, West Bengal.

“Our biggest issue is travel advisories. We will pitch for removing Kashmir-specific travel advisories. It has hit our tourism. We will be discussing this issue threadbare. We want tourists to visit Kashmir. It will not only promote tourism but also help in reviving handicrafts and generate employment,” said Tenga.

Several Western countries had issued travel advisors to their citizens not to visit Kashmir in 1995. The Government as well as the the travel and trade related community now hope that after G-20 meet in Srinagar the advisories will be revoked.

G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. It represents 85% of the global GDP, 75% of international trade, and two-thirds of the world’s population.

“Horticulture is another sector which we want to promote. We are seeing foreign apples being sold in the country. Why can’t our apples go to these countries? We will pitch for increased export of Kashmir apples and other fruits to these countries. Our fruit has the potential to attract buyers on foreign soil,” said Tenga.

Kashmir will be rolling out the red carpet for the delegates. Besides holding a summit in SKICC, the delegates will also visit Gulmarg. Srinagar has been decked like a bride for the G20 meeting. The Interior and exterior of the venue are being reworked to suit the theme of the meeting. Digital infrastructure is being refurbished to ensure hassle-free deliberations. Roads leading to the venue are being beautified. Smart city projects have been put on the fast track to ensure hassle-free movement.__Kashmir Monitor