India had earlier invited an EU panel of lawmakers to visit J&K

NEW DELHI: Fifteen envoys will be travelling to J&K on Thursday where they will meet civil society members and will be briefed on the security situation in the Union territory.

1. Why Are Envoys Visiting Kashmir?

On August 5, the government abrogated Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Since the abrogation, several political leaders have been arrested, internet services remain suspended and the region has been under heavy security cover. The delegation has been invited to be briefed on the security situation in the region. The visit has also been planned as part of India's diplomatic outreach to rebut Pakistan's propaganda against it on the Kashmir issue.

2. What Will The Delegation Do In Kashmir?

The group is likely to meet civil society leaders and will also be briefed on the security situation in the region by Army and intelligence services. Government sources clarified that members of the groups will be “free to interact with people subject to security considerations. No ambassador, however, had specifically asked to meet anyone who was detained." The envoys will meet Lt Governor G C Murmu and other officials before returning the next day.

3. Is This A First Such Visit of Foreign Envoys To Kashmir?

This is the second visit of foreign dignitaries to Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. In October last year, a team of 23 EU MPs was taken on a two-day visit to assess the situation in the region. The visit was planned by a Delhi-based think tank. However, the government had insisted that the tour was not government-sponsored and the delegation was on a "private visit".

4. Envoys of Which Countries Will Be Visiting Kashmir?

Envoys from 15 countries, along with US Ambassador to India Kenneth I Juster, will undertake a two-day trip to Jammu and Kashmir. The countries whose envoys would be part of the delegation include the US, Vietnam, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Nigeria, Morocco, Guyana, Argentina, Philippines, Maldives, Bangladesh and Peru.

5. Why Are The Envoys of European Union Countries Not Part Of The Delegation?

New Delhi wanted to invite a global group of envoy with only some EU ambassadors. However, the envoys from EU wanted to visit Kashmir as a group, which was not possible to accommodate due to restrictions in the number and to keep the group broad-based, according to a government source. The EU countries are understood to have conveyed that they would visit the Union Territory on a different date and are also believed to have stressed on meeting three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti — who are under detention.