A team of 23 MEPs travelled to Kashmir on Tuesday on a two-day trip to have a first-hand assessment of the situation

Rather than going on the back foot after a huge uproar over the 23-member delegation of European Union (EU) MPs' visit to the Kashmir Valley, a top functionary in the government indicated that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government was "satisfied" with the trip.

The government functionary dismissed "criticism" of the Modi government's move to allow a delegation of lawmakers from the European Union (EU) to visit J&K, saying the move was a counter to Pakistan's propaganda in the West, especially Europe.

The government's reasoning, sources said, was that "Pakistan support groups are very active in Europe and were creating an anti-India mood. This led to the decision of allowing an EU parliamentary panel" to visit Kashmir. Some of the influence was also coming in from the MPs of the Pakistani origin, and was required to be countered."

While the move is said to be the brainchild of National Security Adviser (NSA) Ajit Doval, Home Minister Amit Shah was also in the loop on the EU parliamentary panel visit to Kashmir.

Sources said that several of the MPs spoke positively on Kashmir and also said that the abrogation of provisions under Article 370 is an internal matter of India. Though few MPs were seemingly critical of the government it was brushed aside.

While there was a complete shutdown by locals with over two dozen incidents of stone-pelting, the government believes the debriefing by the Indian Army and the Kashmir officials would have given a complete picture to the visiting EU MPs.

A 23-member delegation of EU parliamentarians reached Kashmir on Tuesday for a first-hand assessment of the situation after the state's special status was revoked in August. The delegation was the first high-level foreign visitors to Kashmir after the government's August 5 decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and divide the state into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Several of those lawmakers belong to the right and far-right parties and are not part of the mainstream in their own countries.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "The visit of the Members of European Parliament (MEPs) was in the larger national interest and "we" do not think it is internationalising the issue."

The government also defended its decision to invite MEPs to India, stating: "we engage in the national interest and the visits every time not necessarily have to be through official channels."

The EU delegation had varied shades of opinion on the situation in Kashmir.

MP Nicolaus Fest, a part of the delegation, said, "I think if you let in the European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in the Opposition politicians from India. So, there is some kind of imbalance, the government should somehow address it."

Meanwhile, Spanish MP Hermann Tertsch hinted that the delegates were "kept away" from meeting many people. "We are conscious of the fact that we are being kept away from some people," he said.

French MP Henri Malosse said, "If we talk about Article 370, it is India's internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism, which is a global menace, and we should stand with India in fighting it. There was an unfortunate incident of the killing of five innocent labourers by terrorists. We condemn it."

While the Opposition, which was not allowed when it attempted to enter the Valley, slammed the government terming it as a "PR disaster", the BJP sources have said that the situation has improved and the leaders can now visit Kashmir.