Senior German envoy Walter Lindner likely to lead EU delegation to J&K
New Delhi, Feb 11: The second batch of foreign delegates which will visit Jammu and Kashmir this week will be led by a German envoy.
Several diplomats from the European Union, including France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Bulgaria and Hungary have been invited. The visit is likely to begin from February 12 onwards, sources tell OneIndia. Walter Lindner, one of the senior-most diplomats is likely to lead the delegation, sources familiar with the development also said.
They would be reviewing the situation following the abrogation of Article 370.
This time, several members of the European Union have agreed to travel to the Union Territory. At least 25 envoys are set to travel, the source also added. The decision was taken during a meeting of Foreign Minister, S Jaishankar and several heads of the EU Mission.
The upcoming visit was discussed during the meeting and it was decided that the delegation would make the visit next week. During the meeting, the envoys expressed concerns over the political detentions. However, they said that there was normalcy on the roads and the entire UT is not under lockdown as they had expected.
During the visit, there would be a briefing by the Army officials and also a meeting with civil society members. Some politicians would also meet with the delegation, the source also added.
The visit comes in the backdrop of the visit by Jaishankar to Munich. He is expected to take part in the Munich Security Conference from February 14 to 16 and also travel to Brussels for a meeting with the leaders of the European Union.
India would have the opportunity to clear the air over the new citizenship law and also discuss other regional issues such as Afghanistan. The meeting at Brussels will take place on February 17.
The meeting is important and its outcome would decide whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the March 13 European Union summit.
Last week the European Parliament decided to postpone voting on a resolution regarding the newly amended citizenship law. The resolution was introduced by giving major groups across political leanings.
India understands that the postponement is temporary and the resolution would be put to vote once Modi's visit is done. During his meeting, Jaishankar would seek assurances from his counterparts at Brussels against the resolution being put to vote.
Modi's trip would be finalised only after Jaishankar gets an assurance, sources familiar with the matter tell OneIndia.
When the resolution was taken up in the 751 member House, 271 of the 483 MEPs present voted to delay the vote on the resolution. 13 abstained, while 199 did not want to delay the voting.
India had launched a drive that was intended to clear the misunderstanding regarding the law. India has maintained that the law is not discriminatory in nature and instead of passing a resolution, the European Parliament should engage with New Delhi for a right understanding of the law.
Friends of India prevailed over the Friends of Pakistan, the official said while also blaming Shaffaq Mohammed, the PoK born MEP for the resolution.
With the vote being delayed, Indian diplomatic channels would have more time to reach out to a majority of the MEPs and provide clarity regarding the law. Our official's channels are already at work, the source confirmed, while also expressing confidence that the issue would be resolved.
The final draft resolution by six of the largest groups in the European Parliament has said that the new Indian citizenship law is discriminatory in nature and dangerously divisive.
The draft also says that the NRC may be used to target marginalised groups. It could cause immense human suffering, the draft also says.
India has maintained that these issues are entirely internal. Moreover, these issues have been settled by a majority vote in both Houses of Parliament, India has informed.
Instead of voting on such issues, the parliamentarians should engage with New Delhi. We would be able to provide them with the right assessment on the issues, sources on the Ministry of External Affairs informed.