The third meeting of the G20’s Tourism Working Group, under India’s G20 presidency, begins today in Kashmir. Delegates will gather despite an announcement
The third meeting of the G20’s Tourism Working Group, under India’s G20 presidency, begins today in Kashmir.
Delegates will gather despite an announcement by Beijing that China will boycott the meeting due to the disputed status of the Himalayan territory. India and Pakistan both claim Kashmir and have fought politically and militarily over its status since 1947. Kashmir is a popular Indian and international tourist destination, with over a million Indiansvisiting it last year and tourism comprising about seven per cent of its economy. It is majority-Muslim.
In the short-term, expect a heightened private security presence in the region, for the safety of meeting attendees, and possible domestic unrest. In the medium to long-term, China’s decision to boycott the event will further strain its relations with India which—although improving economically in areas such as trade—have worsened on balance due to continuing tensions between New Delhi and Beijing over Kashmir, like the June 2020 Ladakh dispute. Worsening relations with Beijing benefits India’s western allies, like the US, despite frustrations over India’s less-than-neutral position on the war in Ukraine. It also improves Sino-Pakistani relations and benefits Pakistani efforts to counteract India’s attempts to claim Kashmir as a fait accompli by integrating the region economically with India proper.