SRINAGAR is fast emerging as a stop for high-end and important events. A series of national and international events are scheduled to be held in Srinagar in the coming months. This, without any doubt, is a positive development that would eventually help develop, evolve and promote Kashmir as a hub of constructive activities. The present administration has certainly played a role in raising the bar and people have started expecting much post the G-20 tourism meet here.
But holding of and managing of big events alone won’t help if the desired goals are out of sight. These activities, of course, help the state in image-building but the administration needs to fix achievable targets which could revolutionise the socio-economic aspect in Jammu and Kashmir.
And in a rather unfortunate move, the recent advisory from United Kingdom to its citizens has dented the hopes of the tourism sector here.
In an advisory by the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to its people, much is spoken against travel to the region of Jammu and Kashmir (including Pahalgam, Sonamarg, Gulmarg, the city of Srinagar and the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway). Except for travel by air to and from the city of Jammu, travel within the city of Jammu and within the region of Ladakh.
Similarly, USA has kept J&K at level 4 of its travel advisory which means that this territory is vulnerable to terrorist activities and is haven to insurgent groups.
Well, in the light of these kind of tourism advisories, it‘s time for the government to walk its talk. The Ministry of External Affairs must make efforts to talk to the western nations to stop viewing Kashmir through the insurgent prism. Kashmir has moved on from its past and is competing with other counterparts neck-to-neck in terms of development, infrastructural build-up, cleansing of terrorism and digital revolution. The western countries must acknowledge the new emerging Kashmir instead of becoming an obstruction in its transformation into a peaceful Kashmir.