China, Indonesia and Turkey boycotting G-20 meeting in Srinagar

China, along with Indonesia and Turkey, is boycotting the G-20 meeting in Srinagar on tourism this month due to the "disputed" status of Kashmir.

China, Indonesia and Turkey boycotting G-20 meeting in Srinagar

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China won’t take part in the upcoming G-20 tourism working group meeting at Srinagar, Wang Wenbin, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson informed the press on Friday, May 19th. 

The two-day meeting starting from May 22nd will be boycotted by China as it’s held in an internationally recognised “disputed territory” of Jammu & Kashmir.

Responding to a question from the AFP during his regular press conference, Wang said, “China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory. We will not attend such meetings.”

China had opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scrapping of Article 370 of the constitution in August 2019, which ended the semi-autonomous status of the former princely state of Jammu & Kashmir in the Indian Union. 

China had demanded that the status quo be maintained in the “disputed territory”, as the United Nations designate Jammu & Kashmir. However, the Modi government pushed forward its agenda using its brute majority in the Indian Parliament, which escalated tension in its neighbourhood, especially with Pakistan.

Earlier China, with which India has a very peculiar and volatile relationship, had skipped the Youth-20 Summit meeting in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, held on April 26th and 27th. In March, China skipped a G-20 meeting in Itanagar, the capital city of Arunachal Pradesh.

China considers both places its territory and accuses India of forcefully occupying them using British-drawn colonial-era borders. The China-India border standoff following the clash between soldiers from both sides in mid-2020 has also bittered their bilateral relationship.

However, it’s not merely China that’s boycotting the Srinagar G-20 Meeting; Indonesia and Turkey may also boycott the event. Among these, Indonesia is India’s neighbouring country and was the previous G-20 president. India’s relations with Turkey soured following the scrapping of Article 370 in August 2019.

Apart from these, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, considering the disputed status of Jammu & Kashmir may send mid-level officials to the G-20 meeting in Srinagar from their embassies in New Delhi.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues Fernand de Varennes has opposed the G-20 meeting in Srinagar. “The Government of India is seeking to normalise what some have described as a military occupation by instrumentalising a G20 meeting and portray an international ‘seal of approval’”, de Varennes said in a statement.

India has slammed de Varennes’s criticism regarding New Delhi’s choice of venue for the G-20 meeting. India has stated that the choice of venue is the prerogative of the host country, and the participants must accept it.

Although the Modi government had claimed in 2019 that the scrapping of Article 370 will end militancy in the valley, which was also underscored as an important reason behind the contentious demonetisation exercise in November 2016, there has been no end to violence in the valley.

Sporadic militant violence and skirmishes with the Indian forces are reported regularly from the valley. Several civilians, military personnel and militants have been killed in Kashmir since August 2019.

Despite the rise in violence in Kashmir, the Modi government has claimed that normalcy has been restored in the valley. The Opposition in India has also criticised Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for its alleged inept handling of the crucial issue and has demanded free and fair elections to the legislative assembly in the newly-carved union territory Jammu & Kashmir.

Several countries, including China, Pakistan, Turkey, etc, had opposed India’s scrapping of Article 370 in August 2019. New Delhi has shrugged off the criticisms and stood by its stand.

The G-20 meeting will take place in the tense valley, where security has been reportedly beefed up. Still, the boycott of the event by China, Indonesia and Turkey, and the participation of mid-level diplomats from Saudi Arabia and Mexico may negatively impact India on the global stage.

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