Kashmir receives glowing travel review ahead of G20: "We see Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians all living in peace"

Kashmir, India

Amjad Taha, a Bahrain-based regional director of the British Middle East Center for Studies and Research, gave a glowing review of the Kashmir region, northwest India, ahead of the country's hosting of the G20 Summit.

On Twitter, Taha, with over half a million Twitter followers, tweeted:

"This is not Switzerland or Austria; this is India, and this is Kashmir where the G20 will take place. It's called the 'paradise on Earth,' a place that has preserved the Earth and can be the solution for climate change. In Kashmir, we see Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians all living in peace and enjoying their diverse land while contributing to world innovation and development for the future."

India is holding a key G20 tourism meeting in Kashmir amid heightened security and opposition from China.

The working group meeting is being held in Srinagar, the summer capital of the federally administrated territory, from Monday to Wednesday.

This is the biggest international event organised in the region since India scrapped its special status in 2019.

Over 60 delegates from G20 member countries are expected to attend the event.

China, however, has said it will not attend, citing its firm opposition "to holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory". The BBC has emailed India's foreign ministry for its response to China's statement.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full, but control only parts of it. The nuclear-armed neighbours have already fought two wars and a limited conflict over the region.

In April, Pakistan, which is not a G20 member, had criticised India's decision to hold the meetings in Kashmir, calling it an "irresponsible" move.

India, however said, that it was "natural" to hold G20 events and meetings in "Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which are an integral and inalienable part" of the country.

India has said it will showcase the cultural heritage of Kashmir and promote its tourism potential during the meeting. Delegates will be taken on sightseeing tours and there will be discussions on strategies to promote "film tourism", according to an official statement.

The G20, which includes the world's 19 wealthiest nations plus the European Union, accounts for 85% of global economic output and two-thirds of its population.

India currently holds the presidency - which rotates annually between members - and is set to host the G20 summit in Delhi in September.

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