lekhaka-Jagdish N Singh
The successful conclusion of the G-20 summit on tourism, held in Srinagar, indicates the world today recognises Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India. The world wants democratic India to host events in the region to promote tourism . It does not take the objections of the countries, such as China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, on the matter seriously.
It is hardly surprising that China , Turkey and Saudi Arabia did not join the third G20 meeting tourism working group held in Srinagar (May 22-24, 2023) . The meet took place in India’s union territory of Jammu and Kashmir after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution in 2019 and annulled the region’s then special status as a state.
Pakistan claims this region to be a disputed territory between itself and India. Islamabad has been telling around that the India-hosted G-20 meeting in Srinagar is aimed at perpetuating its “illegal occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir. It has been asserting that any meeting in the ‘disputed’ territory violates international law, UN Security Council resolutions and Pakistan’s agreements with India.
Beijing has been a close ally of Islamabad on the issue. It has been in occupation of a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. In line with Islamabad’s stance on the issue, Beijing stated that “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory. “
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Pertinently, China is standing with Pakistan on the issue also because it claims a sizeable part of the Indian territory as its own. Currently, its eastern Ladakh border standoff with India goes on. China seems to calculate that it, in coalescence with Pakistan, can fight better against India.
As for the non-participation of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the Srinagar meet, it can be attributed to their ambition to project themselves as the leaders of the Muslim world . They seem to calculate the Muslims in the Valley have not been happy with the abrogation of Article 370 and their non-participation in the Srinagar would please them.
It is well known that Turkey, under its current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aims to revive the Caliphate abolished by the treaty of Sevres way back in 1920. President Erdogan describes Turkey as “a continuation of the Ottomans” and says “the borders have changed, forms of government have changed… But the essence is the same, soul is the same, even many institutions are the same.”
In order to emerge as the leader of the Muslim world, President Erdogan has sought to impose a Sunni order on the country . He has appealed other Muslim countries with his communal rhetoric. As part of its strategy to attain the Muslim leadership status, the Turkish government -promoted the South Asia Strategic Research Center invites Indian Islamist leaders and uses them to spread Erdogan’s influence across India.
Pertinently, the Erdogan enterprise seems to have already started bearing fruition India. In a speech in 2017 , India’s populist Salafist preacher Zakir Naik described Erdogan as the only Muslim ruler who has the guts to support Islam openly.
Some ultra- conservative Muslims in India seem to see in Erdogan today a possible leader from the seat of the Caliphate. They celebrated his victory in the presidential elections of June 2018 . The ultra- conservative Indian Muslims admired Erdogan in the wake of the military coup attempt in Turkey. Islamic cleric Maulana Salman Hussaini Nadvi endorsed Erdogan and lambasted the alleged mastermind of the putsch, Fethullah Gulen . The Shahi Imam of Delhi Syed Ahmed Bukhari met the then Turkish ambassador to India and expressed his support for President Erdogan.
India Downplays China, Saudi Absence As G20 Events Kicks Off In Srinagar
Observers say it is good that the participation of over 60 delegates from most of the G-20 countries at the Srinagar summit on tourism indicates the world today recognises Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India. The world wants democratic India to host events in the region to promote tourism . It does not take the objections of the countries, such as China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, on the matter seriously . The world today is very much aware that China is an authoritarian country with expansionist ambitions. It is aware the freedom of press-the very essence of democracy — is missing in Turkey and Saudi Arabia .
The observers say the successful conclusion of the Srinagar summit is sure to promote tourism and generate additional resources for the development of the region. During their stay for the Srinagar summit, the participants of the event must have seen it for themselves the kind of development that has taken place in the region after the Modi government scrapped its special status in the country . They must have noted that the Islamist militancy in the region is disappearing very fast . There is freedom of expression in the area with more than 400 newspapers being published from the region today.
(Jagdish N. Singh is a senior journalist based in New Delhi. He is also Senior Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, New York)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of OneIndia and OneIndia does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.
Story first published: Thursday, May 25, 2023, 12:18 [IST]
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