Srinagar under Siege: G-20 State of Normalcy

by Dr. Shahid Hameed

Nowadays the historic valley of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir is heavily surrounded by Indian military and security forces. The siege of the iconic Dal Lake to project a veneer of normalcy during the G-20 meeting is a part of India’s continuous efforts to fade United Nations resolutions on the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Helicopters and drones are monitoring each corner of the valley. Thousands of CCTV cameras are installed for surveillance and record of 24-hour public activities. The Northern Command of the Indian Army is also on ‘red alert’ with special directions to seize any movement at the Line of Control (LoC). Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi was ordered to immediately visit vulnerable parts of the disputed territory under the Northern Command. All roads to Dal Lake are closed and local businessmen and workers are given directions to stay at home and not to open their businesses during the G-20 meeting scheduled in Srinagar. The Marines commandos and national security guards are deputed with ground to air defense capabilities.

Under these high-security arrangements, the Modi government is unable to convince the international community that India’s claim of normalcy in disputed Kashmir should be accepted. At the eleventh hour, the management of G-20 changed a scheduled tour of participants in the Srinagar area. The plan to facilitate 150 people tour to Gulmarg was declared unsafe. The last moment changes in tours and visits of officials and participants of the meeting created mistrust and a sense of insecurity. At the same time, security agencies are demonstrating abnormal activities not only in the valley but also in border areas that show their malafide intentions of any false flag operation.

The other side of the event is also challenging, as China refused to attend any such meeting in disputed territory. Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt are also reluctant to accept Indian unlawful scams to mislead the international community. There are also some news that senior officials of G-20 tourism group may skip their presence by replacing themselves with low-level cadres. Most of the member states of G-20 are agreed upon their local diplomat’s participation as they are available in their respective embassies in India. The emerging security conditions and Indian curfew strategy reflect the failure of Indian prime objectives from this event. Anti-drone vehicles and aerial surveillance increased the sensitivity of delegations which were given false information about ‘normalcy’.

South Asian stability is already under threat after India’s increasing illegal actions to change the legal status of Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time, India continuously performed several misadventures in Pakistan’s territory during the last few years. The agenda is to defame Pakistan and project its support to Kashmir as a terrorist activity which is still underway. The past experiences show that India never missed any opportunity to malign Pakistan. They use ‘terrorism’ threat as preemptive notion. The same preemptive statements can be traced in Indian news agencies which were circulated to gain dual objectives. First, create misperceptions about Pakistan and secondly, to manage a space for any false flag operation.

By and by, the recent G-20 tourism meet-up in Srinagar proved poor security conditions in Jammu and Kashmir particularly in Srinagar. At the same time, India’s bluff to malign Pakistan and legal status of the region did not work as per plan. The event may increase the sensitivity of the Kashmir dispute due to the Indian failure to prove ‘state of normalcy’.



Dr. Shahid Hameed is Director Research at Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS AJK).


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Center for International Strategic Studies AJK, King Abdullah Campus Chatter kalas Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir