SRINAGAR, May 22: About 60 foreign delegates arrived here on Monday for the third tourism working group meeting of the G20 countries, officials said.
This is the first international meeting being held in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh – in August 2019.
Officials said the delegates from several countries of the G20 grouping arrived in a chartered flight at the Srinagar international airport in the morning amidst tight security.
They said the delegates were taken to the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the venue of the meeting, amid heavy deployment of security personnel along the route. The stretch has received a facelift with G20 logos painted on walls and hoardings to welcome the delegates.
Officials said stringent security arrangements have been made to ensure that the event concludes incident-free.
While the Boulevard Road around the SKICC has been made a no-go zone for the three days, there is massive deployment of security forces on the route taken by the delegates, and the Airport Road to Dalgate stretch, officials said.
They said security has been beefed up across the valley with the elite NSG and Marine Commandos helping police and paramilitary forces to secure the venues of the event, they said.
Sanitisation and ”area domination” exercises have been carried out in and around the venues, along the route and at vulnerable spots of the city. Scanners and sniffer dogs have been pressed into action to check for any explosives or IEDs, the officials added.
Vehicles passing through the city are being randomly checked to ensure that no subversive elements manage to enter the city, officials said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police has roped in the Army to cover the higher reaches of the Zabarwan Range overlooking the meeting venue and accommodation facilities for the guests.
Thirty companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which had earlier been taken out of Jammu and Kashmir for election duty in the rest of the country, have since been recalled to further strengthen security in the valley.
The NSG’s counter-drone unit has been pressed into service to ensure that no unwanted aerial intrusion takes place.
According to officials, there is no restriction on the movement of people or public transport in the city or elsewhere, the officials said.
They said shops and business establishments were open across the city and life was “absolutely normal”.
Srinagar city has been spruced up for the three-day working group meeting on tourism which begins later in the day. Several projects, which were part of Srinagar Smart City, were taken up on priority and the city has been decked up for the international event. (Agencies)
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