EU envoys reject Indian offer of IoK guided tour

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NEW DELHI: Ambassadors from European countries have rejected India’s invitation for a two-day visit to occupied Kashmir, seeking instead the “freedom to meet the people unescorted”, several Indian media outlets reported on Wednesday. According to Associated Press, envoys from 15 countries including the United States are visiting occupied Kashmir starting from Thursday (today) for two days, the first by New Delhi-based diplomats since India revoked the special status of the region and imposed a harsh crackdown in August 2019. The diplomats are expected to meet civil society members and government officials during their visit to Srinagar and Jammu, officials said. Details are not immediately available, but they are expected to receive a briefing on the security situation from various agencies. The Press Trust of India news agency said diplomats representing Bangladesh, Vietnam, Norway, the Maldives, South Korea, Morocco and Nigeria will be part of the delegation. According to NDTV, European diplomats said they didn’t want a “guided tour” of the occupied territory and “would visit later and meet the people they want to meet”. Quoting diplomatic sources, The Hindu reported that diplomats from EU had decided not to accept the invitation and asked for “more freedom to travel and meet people unescorted”. Consequently, the Indian government has decided to organise a separate visit for the European envoys at a later date, the report added. The report says Australia, Afghanistan and the Gulf countries were also invited for the visit but declined due to “other commitments”. “While many ambassadors are still on winter

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