A delegation of senior diplomats of 24 countries, including Bangladesh, began a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir for making an assessment of the situation post the abrogation of the erstwhile state's special status in 2019.
Bangladesh's High Commissioner to India, Muhammad Imran, is among the visiting foreign envoys, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
The delegation, which comprises New Delhi-based envoys from Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, were taken to a government college in Budgam in central Kashmir where they were received by the administration and briefed about the strengthening of local bodies, including panchayat, officials said.
The envoys from the EU, France, Malaysia, Brazil, Italy, Finland, Bangladesh, Cuba, Chile, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Senegal, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Ireland, Ghana, Estonia, Bolivia, Malawi, Eritrea and Ivory Coast reached Srinagar amid heightened security in the city and elsewhere in the Kashmir Valley, the officials said.
After a customary address, the envoys moved freely with the panchayat administration heads trying to get an understanding of their issues and it was a free flow of ideas from both sides, officials said.
During their stay in the Kashmir Valley, the delegation members are scheduled to meet the district development council members and civil society representatives, the officials said, adding they are scheduled to visit the revered Hazratbal shrine on the banks of Dal Lake as well.
This is the third batch of diplomats to visit Jammu and Kashmir organised by New Delhi aimed at showcasing the Indian government's efforts to restore normalcy and boost development in the federally-ruled territory. The first two groups had visited Jammu and Kashmir in January and February last year.
The delegation is scheduled to visit Jammu tomorrow to have more interactions with grassroots politicians, civil society groups and businesspeople and visit key government projects and schemes.
Parts of Srinagar witnessed a shutdown to mark the arrival of the diplomats' delegation to Jammu and Kashmir.
Shops in Srinagar's commercial hub Lal Chowk and surrounding areas were shut as authorities deployed extra security personnel to ensure that the visit of the envoys passes off without any incident.
India scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's special status as a state under Article 372 of the Constitution on August 5, 2019 and split the former state into two federally-administered territories, triggering sharp reaction from most opposition parties.