Days after China and Pakistan protested India’s decision to hold G-20 summit preparatory meetings in Jammu and Kashmir next year, the Centre has proposed holding these meetings in the Union Territory of Ladakh as well.
Since May 2020, Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a border standoff in eastern Ladakh, and the government’s proposal to hold the meetings in the Union Territory is likely to be interpreted as a snub to China.
India will take over the G-20 presidency on December 1st of this year. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will travel to Bali, Indonesia, on July 7 and 8, to attend the G-20 foreign ministers’ meeting.
The nominations of Divisional Commissioner Saugat Biswas and Leh-Kargil Range DIG Junaid Mehmood as nodal officers to coordinate with the Ministry of External Affairs, which houses the G-20 secretariat, have been approved by Ladakh’s Lt Governor R K Mathur.
On June 23, the J&K administration formed a five-member committee led by the Principal Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department, to coordinate the G-20 meetings in the UT.
India’s proposal to hold the international grouping’s preparatory meetings in J&K in 2023 drew sharp criticism from Pakistan, which stated that it hoped that members of the grouping would be fully aware of the imperatives of law and justice and would strongly oppose the proposal.
China later voiced its opposition to the Indian government’s move, saying “relevant parties should avoid complicating the situation with the unilateral move”.
This will be the first major international meet to be held in the former state since August 2019, when J&K was stripped of its special status and divided into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
In addition to the European Union, the G-20 includes the United States, United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.