As far as gimmicks go, India has perfected it into an art form in the part of Kashmir it has illegally occupied since October 1947.
This was evident from the three-day so-called G20 tourism meeting that began on May 22 in Srinagar, capital of the Illegally Indian Occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Security was extremely tight.
Military check-posts littered the route leading to the conference venue on Dal Lake.
Indian columnist Bharat Bhushan exposed the Indian regime’s farce when he wrote in the Deccan Herald newspaper, “Does the Modi government think that tourism can be promoted in closed conference halls next to a scenic lake being patrolled by marine commandos, with surveillance drones overhead?”
Many G20 countries saw through the farce and treated India’s invitation with disdain.
China, Turkiye and Saudi Arabia boycotted the event.
China, like most other countries in the world, considers Kashmir “disputed territory”.
No Chinese delegates will be attending the event, the Chinese foreign ministry announced on May 19, ahead of the meeting.
Foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters, “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meeting in disputed territory and will not attend such meetings.”
Beijing stayed away from similar events in both Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, that it considers part of Tibet.
Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Dr Fernand de Varennes, said in a tweet, the Modi regime was seeking to use the G20 meeting to “portray an international seal of approval” on a situation that “should be decried and condemned”.
UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
"Holding a #g20 meeting in #jammuandkashmir while massive #humanrights violations are ongoing is lending support to attemps by #India to normalize the brutal & repressive denial of democratic & other rights of #kashmiri #Muslims and #minorities."
The UN Special Rapporteur also said that the Indian regime is “seeking to normalise what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalising a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval’, despite what Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, told the UN Human Rights Council a few weeks ago was a worrying human rights situation in the Kashmir region.”
In a rare show of unanimity, most western governments also expressed disapproval of Modi regime’s actions.
They sent only locally-stationed diplomatic staff from Delhi, not ministers or other high officials as Delhi had expected.
Tourism promotion requires free access to foreign journalists to explore areas of interest in a particular region.
India has imposed tight controls over visits by foreign journalists.
They are required to obtain special permission, which is not normally granted.
For the G20 ‘tourism promotion’ gimmick, India granted permission to foreign journalists but it was extremely restricted.
The permits are valid only for coverage of the G20 meeting itself and limited to the city of Srinagar.
Further restrictions include to not “propagate anti-India narratives”, nor visit what India terms “terrorist-infested places” without prior permission.
The vast majority of Kashmiris categorically reject India’s occupation and wish to have nothing to do with it.
“Azadi” (Freedom) is a popular rallying cry in Indian Occupied Kashmir.
Since 1989, when an uprising began for the umpteenth time against India’s brutal occupation, nearly 100,000 people have been murdered by India’s occupation troops in Kashmir.
The occupation forces number nearly 900,000.
On August 5, 2019, India revoked articles 370 and 35A that granted special autonomous status to Kashmir and prohibited settlement of non-Kashmiris.
Since then, more than 3.5 million non-Kashmiris have been settled in Occupied Kashmir as part of India’s policy of settler-colonialism.
More than a million Indian citizens also visited Kashmir last year as part of a policy to normalize its brutal occupation.
Dissent has been criminalised, media freedoms curbed and public protests prohibited, in what critics say is a drastic curtailment of civil liberties by the occupation forces.
Resistance to occupation has been largely crushed but India still maintains 900,000 heavily-armed troops.
Last year, there were 253 deaths in what India claimed were “terrorists”.
The UN considers Kashmir as disputed territory whose future should be settled through an internationally supervised referendum.
No country in the world recognizes India’s occupation of Kashmir but regrettably, they are not prepared to help the Kashmiris gain independence from a brutal occupier.