NEW DELHI: India has sent out a loud and clear message to its hostile neighbour Pakistan by hosting the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar. Kashmir is an integral part of India, will remain so, and no threat or pressure from terror-sponsors, like Pakistan, can deter the Government of India or break its resilience, that’s the crux of the message.
In the run-up to the G20 Summit in New Delhi on September 9-10, India has planned to host over 200 meetings in various cities across the country. Srinagar happened to be one such venue where the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting was held on May 22-24.
But Pakistan, with its India-baiting stance and Kashmir-obsession, jumped in to “condemn” the decision. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari even threw a veiled threat while he was in Goa for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet.
In fact, Pakistan has been raising this issue at every forum, with its rhetoric going mostly unheard; and at times causing it embarrassment. All this while, it has itself been undergoing political turmoil, which continues till this day. Now, the country is staring at empty coffers and seeking manna from allies and economic bodies.
That is where China stepped in with moneybags, befriending Pakistan to expand footprints across South and Central Asia. Joining the Pak chorus, the Dragon announced that it will not be attending the Srinagar meeting as it is “opposed” to holding the meeting in a “disputed territory”.
Pak’s close ally
Türkiye followed suit. Being a close ally of Pakistan, it has engaged in anti-India propaganda. However, it applauded India’s role in assisting it during the devastating earthquake in February.
Interestingly, Türkiye had participated in a two-day Youth 20 Consultation in Srinagar. The event was held at the University of Kashmir on May 10 and 11. Pakistan, however, is not part of the G20, which includes 19 countries and the European Union. It persuaded China to throw in its weight and also managed to influence Türkiye and Saudi Arabia.
The Dragon considers India an adversary in South Asia and is wary of the latter’s rise in the world graph. So, at every opportunity, it tries to throw its weight, trying to browbeat India. It tried a similar pressure exercise by skipping a G20 event in Arunachal Pradesh, which it considers part of its own map