It is not immediately clear if China is sending any representative for participation but decks have been cleared for holding the first G20 event in the Union Territory of Ladakh from 26 to 29 April. It will be a Youth-20 (Y20) rendezvous during which the foreign delegates from G20 will also be taken to the famous Pangong Lake, on the Line of Actual Control with China.
Informed sources said that some key programmes would be held in the capital city of Leh but the delegates would also be visiting a number of the Buddhist religious and cultural sites during their four-day schedules in Ladakh. It is part of the G20 summit events across the country as India is currently holding the presidency of the world group for a year.
As of now, only Pakistan has raised objections to holding of G20 events in the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, calling the territories as “disputed” but India has rejected the same and maintained that it was ‘natural’ to hold such events in all of the Indian States and UTs including J&K and Ladakh. None of the G20 countries, including her traditional friends like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and UAE have supported Pakistan or decided to stay away from the events to be held in the two UTs.
Reports from Islamabad indicate that Pakistan is using all means at her disposal, including some further concessions on CPEC, to stop China from attending G20 and Y20 programmes in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Sources said that in all 70 delegates from G20 member nations, including the United States of America, Russia and the European Union, would participate in the Y20 event in Ladakh.
Sources said that due to the hectic schedule of the international delegates, their visit to Kargil district had been cancelled at the eleventh hour. Now, students from different colleges of Kargil will be taken to Leh to attend the Youth-20 summit. As per the schedule, the international delegates will reach Leh on 26th April and will take rest for a day for necessary acclimatisation in the high altitude territory.
The Y-20 meeting will be held on April 27. One-day sightseeing including a visit to Pangong lake and some Buddhist religious places is proposed on 28 April while the delegates are scheduled to return to New Delhi on April 29.
“The four-day Youth-20 meeting under G20 summit at Leh and visit of the delegates to Pangong lake, which flows along the LAC with China in Eastern Ladakh, will send a strong message to China which had opposed such a meeting in the UT”, said an official.
Sources said the Central teams of two Union Ministries will visit Leh ahead of the Y-20 summit to review arrangements, both in terms of boarding & lodging and security. However, they added, security is not a major concern in Ladakh which is completely a peaceful area with no signs of militancy.
Elaborate security arrangements are being put in place with deployment of the Ladakh Police and paramilitary forces at the international event’s venue, the hotels where the delegates would stay and places of their visit. Security and other arrangements for the event are being constantly monitored by Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Brig (Retired) BD Mishra and senior officers of civil and police administration.
All eyes will also be on the attendance of the three G-20 countries that are also members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) – Turkey, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The OIC has issued several statements criticizing India for its move to reorganize Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.
Sources said Turkey might be unable to send officials, given the Presidential and Parliament elections that are due to be held next month, while a response is awaited from Indonesia.
The Working Group on Tourism of G20 is meeting in Srinagar in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir from 22-25 May. The international delegates will arrive in Srinagar on 22 May while their meeting will be held on 23 May. Sightseeing including Shikara ride in Dal lake, visit to Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary and Gulmarg is proposed on 24 May while the delegates would return to Jammu on May 25.
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