India has planned a two-day tour of Kashmir starting tomorrow for 17 envoys from the US, & unspecified ASEAN, Latin America, & African countries. Envoys from Australia, some Gulf nations & countries of the European Union have declined to participate in the guided tour but leave open the possibility of a future tour. The purpose of the tour in unclear. If it is primarily for propaganda purposes, the specter of eight-million people locked down without communications, check points, empty streets filled with soldiers, empty schools & shops doesn’t offer much possibility for positive reporting. If the purpose is investigative, the envoys would be allowed to travel & speak to anyone they chose, not be introduced & confined to Indian officials, military officials, & collaborators.
Is India seeking foreign investment for its ‘redevelopment’ plans in Kashmir? Are these envoys more like a kettle of vultures looking for ways to sweep in on the expropriation & unfettered exploitation of Kashmir’s natural & human resources? Keep the US envoy in mind next time Trump or the US State Department offer to mediate between Pakistan & Kashmir at the expense of Kashmiri self-determination.