Srinagar: The smooth conclusion of G-20 Summit in Srinagar proved that almost everything is going in the right direction.
And decades old negative narrative and false rhetoric has been well understood by Kashmiris.
The happy delegates from the developed nations surprised by the serine atmosphere and beautiful surroundings and the heartfelt hospitality of Kashmiri hosts belied the negative notion in their minds if any.
What surprises political pundits the most was the response and the behaviour of the people of Srinagar and particularly the downtown part of the city which till recently was considered to be a no go area for the outsiders. There was no strike call or hartal or any demonstration but surprisingly was element of expectancy from the outcome of three day conclave.
The assertive style of governance led by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha under the able guidance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi not only has changed the mindset but the dissenting voices are forced to think twice about their past misdemeanours.
G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant said, PM Narendra Modi believes that tourism has the biggest multiplier effect being the biggest job creator and this G20 meeting will lead to more job creation in J&K.
"There is no better film destination than Kashmir which has everything to offer to the film industry. Grateful to the wonderful people of Kashmir for making G20 an unforgettable experience! Thank you to the dynamic L-G Manoj Sinha, his team, and all officers whose dedication and hard work made this meeting a resounding success. Your efforts are greatly appreciated," G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said.
Last December, India took over the presidency of the G-20 comprising 19 countries and the European Union. The Central Government is expected to host a total of 215 G-20 meetings at over 55 locations of the country and four of which will be focused on promoting the tourism sector.
With its abundance of pilgrimage, and ecotourism destinations, Jammu and Kashmir UT has the potential to transform its entire economy by creating more jobs.
“Tourism is providing employment to a large number of people here in Jammu and Kashmir, especially Kashmir. This industry has a large potential for creating jobs and requires less investment than other economic sectors. We hope this event will promote tourism. We also hope foreign tourists will come and this will end unemployment here," said AshiqNaik, a local resident of Srinagar.
"Entire world knows that Kashmiris are good hosts, We welcomed the delegates open-heartedly. With this we expect a good outcome from the G20 Summit," Naik said.
A senior official in the administration said that the delegates who attended the event here will act as brand ambassadors for UT at the global level.
“G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting in Srinagar was a major international event. We are working to attract the attention of the world and this event was a major opportunity to promote UT at a global scale,” the official said.
Kashmir has been experiencing a record-breaking year for tourism. For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, a record 1.88 crore tourists visited UT in the year 2022 to enjoy the beauty of various famed tourist spots.
Addressing the gathering, Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor, Manoj Sinha on Tuesday underlined why J&K was selected by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji for G20 meeting. He explained that Jammu Kashmir is witnessing a new era under the leadership of PM and it has opened up limitless possibilities of growth and peace.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi through development schemes that empowers masses and Union Territory's effective administration isolated the terror eco-system which thrived with the support from across the border. Now even foreign investments are also coming into Jammu and Kashmir, green shoots of better times people are anxiously looking up to,” the Lt Governor had said.
He also said that tourism in Jammu Kashmir is also a reflection of multi-religious and multi-cultural ethos of India.
“Tourism cannot grow in isolation. The economics of it is fine, that tourism needs good infrastructure, sound policies and effective and responsive administration. No less fundamental to me is the fact that only peace and happiness of people can bring warmth in the hospitality, we Indians eternally enjoy,” the Lt Governor said.
He said today, Jammu Kashmir stands among the developed regions of India on some measurable milestones, and the administration is committed for people's prosperity both economically and socially.
“Modi Ji has completely eliminated injustice, exploitation and discrimination which several sections of society faced for seven long decades owing to circumstances that evolved mostly because of orchestration from abroad. We are ensuring social equality and equal economic opportunity to all citizens, which is also enabling them to contribute to the nation building,” the Lt Governor said.
Throwing light on the transformation of Jammu Kashmir, the Lt Governor said that the grass root democracy has been strengthened; new industries are coming up, rapid agricultural growth is making our villages prosperous, new institutions have been opened up in higher education, youths are being trained for Industry 4.0 technologies, infrastructure development is progressing rapidly and our emphasis on technology is transforming Jammu Kashmir into a digital society. He said in the past 4 years, the ranking of Jammu Kashmir on the various parameters of sustainable development goals have gone up, thanks to visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
“The world can see that entire society, especially the young generation is scripting a bright future for themselves and the nation. The speed and scale of rapid development in Jammu Kashmir are awe-inspiring. Our speed to execute infrastructure projects has gone up almost 10 times,” the Lt Governor said.