Security measures and decorations were both on full display in Srinagar which is the venue for the third tourism working group meeting of G20 countries from today. This is the first such international event in the region since the Indian government revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status and stripped it of its statehood in August 2019.
Around 60 delegates from the member countries of G20 are attending the meeting. Officials say the highest number of delegates for the Srinagar event are coming from Singapore.
A glittering facelift has been given to parts of Srinagar city and roads leading to Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Center or SKICC, the venue for the G20 meeting.
Harshavardhan Shingha, Chief Coordinator G20, said India is halfway through its G20 presidency and so far 118 meetings have been held across the country.
He said the Srinagar meeting has received the highest number of participants in comparison to two earlier meetings on tourism. There are also delegates from special invitee guest countries who are attending the meeting.
China has opposed the holding of a G20 meeting in Kashmir, while Saudi Arabia has not registered for the event. Turkey, it appears, has decided to stay away from the Srinagar meeting.
"China firmly opposes holding G20 meetings in any form in disputed areas and will not attend such meetings," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
India countered the objection by saying it is free to hold meetings on its own territory. It said peace and tranquility on its border is essential for normal ties with China.
Marine commandos and national security guards have been deployed as part of the ground-to-air security cover. Anti-drone units have been activated and national security guards are deployed at sensitive places and installations.
Thousands of troops from the Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Jammu and Kashmir Police are part of the security grid amid reports that terrorists may try to disrupt the G20 event in Kashmir.
Police have issued traffic advisories and no traffic will be allowed to move on Srinagar's boulevard road. There are also restrictions on traffic movement on the route used by G20 delegates.
Shopkeepers in the Lal Chowk area have been issued special passes so that they can keep their shops open without facing any problems.
Ahead of the meeting, a massive facelift was given to parts of Srinagar city and the road from Srinagar airport to SKICC.
Officials say the G20 meeting will boost tourism in Kashmir which is already receiving a large number of domestic and foreign tourists.