EU MPs back India’s fight against terror, end J&K visit

Srinagar: The European Union delegation of MPs which visited Jammu & Kashmir has expressed strong backing for India’s efforts to end terror in the region and restore peace.
Briefing the media at the end of their visit on Wednesday in Srinagar, the 23-member EU delegation said, “We, the international delegation, fully support India in its efforts for lasting peace and end of terror.” Backing India’s position, the delegation acknowledged that the problems in Kashmir are linked to terrorism.
This is the first international delegation to visit J&K after Article 370 was abrogated and trifurcation of the state announced.
On the interaction with locals, the EU MPs said, “We are Indian citizens and we want to be Indian like all other Indian citizens… want to have development like other parts of country, locals told us.”
The EU lawmakers said in the briefing, “We are not here to interfere in Indian politics.” The lawmakers pointed out that those who are criticising have no real sense about the parliamentary delegations. The purpose of such delegations is to collect information and facts.
They added that they had fascinating meetings with representatives of civil society and it had been an excellent visit.
“We were briefed about the situation. The steps being taken are quite thorough. We would have liked to meet more people from civil society, but we understand the situation, and feel assured,” the EU lawmakers added.
The lawmakers said it was good to have a first glance about the situation in Kashmir and hoped that next time they could have more contact with civil society. One of the members of the delegation condemned the killing of five labourers in Kulgam on Tuesday night.
“Terrorism in Kashmir is not only a problem of India but a problem of the international community, we support India in its fight against terrorism.” The delegation also had meetings with army officials and took a ‘shikara’ ride on the Dal lake on Tuesday amid tight security.
Opposition parties have questioned how foreign MPs were allowed in Kashmir when they themselves are barred from travelling to the region.
“I think if you let in European Union parliamentarians, you should also let in politicians from opposition, too. So there is some kind of balance, the government should somehow address it,” Nicolous Fest from Germany said.
Henri Malose of France said, “I don’t want Kashmir to become another Afghanistan, we want development, the change of status will give better chance to students to go to school.”
Another member from France Theirry Mariana said: “India is a peaceful country. Europe and India have historical links, we are here to find the facts, to assess the situation, we had good meetings with civil society.” — IANS