Srinagar, May 22
At least 122 G-20 delegates, many of them global leaders, reached Srinagar on Monday amidst tight security along the roads they will be using over the next three days.
The delegation, led by Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture G Kishan Reddy, arrived at Srinagar International Airport from New Delhi via a chartered flight at 10:30 am.
They were received by Joint Secretary G-20 Bhavna Saxena and other top civil and police officers.
Upon their arrival at the airport, they were showered with flowers and traditional music was played.
From the airport, they proceeded to Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar and Vivanta Dal View, where G-20 delegates and industry invitees will be staying, respectively.
According to officials, they will have lunch at the Royal Spring Golf Course before departing for the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC).
"Just landed in beautiful Srinagar for the G-20 3rd Working Group Meeting on Tourism. Looking forward to discovering the wonderful sustainable tourism destination and experience in J&K," tweeted Singapore's High Commissioner in India, Simon Wong.
An event focusing on 'Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation' will be organised, with the aim of promoting film tourism strategies.
A draft 'National Strategy on Film Tourism' will be unveiled, providing a roadmap for leveraging the role of films in promoting tourist destinations.
Officials said that Spain, Singapore, and Mauritius will discuss film tourism.
J&K Tourism will release a film called "Paradise Valley" about Kashmir
In addition to the conference sessions, delegates will have the chance to explore the enchanting Dal Lake and other local attractions. They will be taken for a shikara ride on Dal Lake in the evening.
Delegates will also visit the Art and Craft Bazaar organised by the state government, showcasing local handicrafts and the work of artisans, emphasising the importance of community participation. They will also have a 'hands-on' experience through DIY activities at the Craft Bazaar.
At 20:30 hours, the delegates will leave for their respective hotels.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is currently under a heightened state of security to host the G-20 Working Group meeting. The city is enveloped in an unprecedented security blanket, with the deployment of Marine commandos, National Security Guards (NSG), and various other security forces.
Security forces personnel, many of them in grey-color civvies and others hiding behind G-20 posters to decrease the visibility of soldiers on the ground, are manning all the roads to be used by the G-20 leaders. The three-day G-20 Tourism Working Group meetings will take place in Srinagar starting today.
The Marines, also known as Marcos, have taken charge of securing Dal Lake, which surrounds the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the designated venue for the G-20 meeting. They have been conducting domination exercises in boats and shikaras on the waterbody for the past week.
Alongside the police and paramilitary forces, NSG commandos have been conducting area domination exercises, including thorough searches at Lal Chowk, Hyderpora, and other localities along the roads to be used by the G-20 leaders.
To ensure a secure environment, a comprehensive three-tier security arrangement has been put in place. The security grid consists of the Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The extensive presence of security forces personnel is a precautionary measure against potential terrorist threats that may aim to disrupt the G-20 event in Kashmir.
One of the planned venues for the G-20 delegates was Gulmarg, a renowned health and ski resort. However, due to logistical reasons and not security concerns, the venue has been canceled. Officials clarified that the cancellation was an isolated decision.
As a precautionary measure, several prominent schools in Srinagar have been temporarily closed until May 25. Furthermore, Kashmiri Pandit employees and employees from other minority groups have been advised not to attend their duties during this period.
In the lead-up to the G-20 meeting, the police and security forces have initiated a major crackdown, detaining and arresting numerous suspects and separatists in different parts of Kashmir.
The Ministry of Tourism is also actively promoting local products from Kashmir by presenting delegates with souvenirs from the One District, One Product (ODOP) initiative. These souvenirs include Paper Mache Boxes, renowned for their intricate patterns and designs; saffron from Pampore, known as the "saffron capital of India"; Kawa cups and Brass Spoons, integral elements of Kashmiri cuisine; and Walnuts sourced from Anantnag, Shopian, and Kupwara, famous for their quality and popularity in India and abroad.
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