NEW DELHI: The visit by 24 foreign envoys to Jammu & Kashmir was meant to allow the diplomats to witness, first-hand, J&K’s march on the path of inclusive development and the “dynamism in grassroots democratic institutions” following the successful conduct of local elections, the ministry of external affairs said after conclusion of the visit.

In a statement, the MEA said the envoys visited the Chinar Corps headquarter in Srinagar where they got a briefing on the prevailing security situation, including external threats, in J&K. India has also used the visit by foreign envoys to counter the campaign by Pakistan to corner India over alleged human rights violations and to expose Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism. The government said there was an enhanced interest in the ongoing political and democratic process, including strengthening of grassroots democracy in J&K.

“Both in Srinagar and Jammu, the group interacted with representatives from civil society, including youth from different ethnic, religious and socio-economic communities, local business and political members, civil administration and representatives of mainstream media,” the MEA said, adding that the visiting envoys were also made aware of the new industrial policy of J&K and were invited to take part in the economic growth and development of UT. An EU official said the EU had taken note of recent steps like election of district development councils and the resumption of 4G internet services. He said the right to freedom of expression online and offline was a key value for all democracies. “The visit presented a chance to see the situation on ground and interact with local interlocutors, as part of EU‘s outreach to all stakeholders. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with India on this,” he said.