A delegation of over 25 European Union MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his residence in New Delhi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Monday ahead of their visit to Jammu and Kashmir. This is the first time an international delegation will be visiting J&K after the government scrapped the state’s special status under Article 370.
“Yes we are going there (J&K) tomorrow. The Prime Minister explained to us about it (abrogation of article 370), but I want to see on the ground how it actually is and talk to some local people. What we all want is normalcy and peace for everyone,” news agnency ANI quoted BN Dunn, a member of the delegation, as saying.
BN Dunn,Member of European Parliament: Yes we are going there(J&K) tomorrow. The Prime Minister explained to us about it(abrogation of article 370) but I want to see on the ground how it actually is& talk to some local people. What we all want is normalcy and peace for everyone. https://t.co/PdX4xhLM3s pic.twitter.com/8H1q2x7uVL
— ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2019
The delegation was briefed about the situation in J&K and cross-border terrorism emanating from across the border.
“PM expressed hope they have fruitful visit to various parts of country, including to J&K. Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of the region of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh; apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region,” a statement by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
#WATCH Delhi: Members of European Parliament called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg today. The delegation would be visiting Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/X4YQEjerLs
— ANI (@ANI) October 28, 2019
During his interaction with the European parliamentarians, PM Modi underscored that there should be zero tolerance for terrorism while, without naming Pakistan, said urgent action must be taken against all those who use terrorism as state policy.
“Urgent action must be taken against all those who support or sponsor terrorists or support such activities and organizations or use terrorism as a state policy.There should be zero tolerance for terrorism,” ANI quoted PM Modi as saying.
Earlier this month, a key US Senator from the Democratic Party, Chris Van Hollen, was denied permission by the government to visit Kashmir to see the situation “first-hand”.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Van Hollen said, “I wanted to visit Kashmir to see first-hand what was happening but was not allowed by the Indian government. We had approached the government about a week ago, but were told it was not the right time to go there.”
Van Hollen, who has travelled across India but never been to J&K, said, “I had thought it would be useful to go there and see the situation myself. My personal view is that if you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear by allowing visitors to the state.. I can only conclude that the Indian government doesn’t want us to see what’s happening out there.”