SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – International diplomats visited India-ruled Kashmir on Thursday for the primary time since New Delhi stripped the area of particular standing in August, though some European nations and others declined the invite after being refused permission to journey independently.

Indian safety personnel stand guard as a convoy believed to be transferring overseas diplomats strikes in Srinagar, January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Danish Ismail

India’s portion of the Muslim-majority Himalayan area, additionally claimed by arch-foe Pakistan, has been underneath extreme restrictions, together with one of many world’s longest web shutdowns, after India revoked decades-old legal guidelines granting Kashmir autonomy and statehood, resulting in widespread unrest.

A spokesman for India’s overseas ministry mentioned diplomats of fifteen international locations, together with america, have been on a two-day journey to the area, including it might launch a full assertion on the go to afterward Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s authorities has been eager to blunt worldwide criticism of its strikes in Kashmir and mentioned the state of affairs was quick returning to regular.

The journey will embrace conferences with the military, in addition to some politicians, civil society teams and journalists chosen by the safety companies, two officers acquainted with the plans mentioned.

No overseas journalists have been given permission to go to Kashmir since August.

The diplomats is not going to be given entry to Omar Abdullah or Mehbooba Mufti, the leaders of the 2 political events which have traditionally dominated Kashmir. Each have been amongst a whole bunch of political and civil society leaders detained through the August crackdown and stay in custody.

Some international locations, together with European Union nations, declined a go to as a result of restrictive nature of the journey, in line with the officers and two overseas diplomats in New Delhi.

One European diplomat mentioned any future determination on whether or not to go to Kashmir will likely be a collective one made by the EU. The EU delegation in New Delhi didn’t reply to a request for remark.

India maintains its actions in Kashmir are essential to fight a three-decade-long armed insurgency in opposition to its rule there, that it accuses Pakistan of fomenting. Islamabad denies this.

However the August crackdown has drawn worldwide criticism, together with from German chief Angela Merkel, who mentioned in a November go to to India the state of affairs in Kashmir was “not sustainable”.

Diplomats from a number of different international locations mentioned they’ve privately raised issues about human rights in Kashmir with counterparts within the overseas ministry.

Entry to the area for overseas observers, together with diplomats, rights teams and journalists, is tightly managed.

International envoys are supplied with police escorts, ostensibly for their very own safety, a diplomat who often visited the area earlier than August mentioned, and infrequently granted permission to journey outdoors of Kashmir’s major metropolis of Srinagar.

International journalists are required to submit detailed itineraries and to hunt approval to go to Kashmir as a lot as eight weeks prematurely – permissions New Delhi has not granted since August.

Reporting by Alasdair Pal in New Delhi and Fayaz Bukhari in Srinagar; Modifying by Sanjeev Miglani and Raju Gopalakrishnan

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