J&K unjustly compared with other conflict zones: Mehbooba

Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti interacting with German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney in Srinagar on Monday.
Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti interacting with German Ambassador Dr Martin Ney in Srinagar on Monday.

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, May 2: Favouring a rethink on travel advisories imposed by several European countries for tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said the State is “unjustly” compared with conflict zones in other parts of the world, where magnitude of violence is huge.
“We seek your indulgence in changing this negative perception which is taking a heavy toll on our tourism sector, the mainstay of our economy,” she told Martin Ney, German Ambassador to India.
Speaking on matters of conflict resolution and challenges facing world peace today, Mehbooba Mufti said J&K, being the only Muslim majority State in the country, can become a showcase window to which the world can look up to.
She, however, opined that unless there is a greater exchange and people-to-people contact, it will be very difficult for anyone to change their opinion. “Seeing is believing. We practise the great religion of Islam in its true sense by living together as a tolerant society with deep sense of respect for sensitivities of each community living here,” she added.
She said Kashmir can also benefit hugely from German intervention in adventure tourism, where the Valley holds great potential, especially in terms of increasing footprint of foreign travellers.
“We look forward to some of your experts coming over and contributing in our efforts to promote adventure tourism big time,” she suggested.
Mehbooba urged the international community to recognise the huge potential and talent of the youth of Jammu and Kashmir and tap their knowledge and expertise in key areas for a robust growth of tourism in the State.
“I expect major youth-oriented interventions from the international community to give wings to the ambition of our talented youth,” she stated.
Batting for greater exchange of ideas between the youth of J&K and those from overseas, Mehbooba said, “our small baby steps need a big push from countries like Germany, which have a wealth of expertise in the fields of skill development, biotechnology, animal husbandry and horticulture.”
“Unfortunately, our success stories are sparingly highlighted and even these get drowned in the din of violence as and when it rears its ugly head,” she said.
“It is in the interest of both the sides if youth engage and share knowledge and expertise in key areas of skill development, in which Germany has made giant strides,” she added.
Describing Kashmir as one of the most beautiful places on the earth, Ney said he is visiting the Valley as part of Germany’s Management Training Programme, in collaboration with CII (Confederation of Indian Industry).
He said he will be attending an apple clinic with some young entrepreneurs in Shopian tomorrow to see how they can help in transfer of technology and best practises.
The German Ambassador said he is very keen to engage the youth of Jammu & Kashmir by giving them a new perspective in the field of education, entrepreneurship and skill development.
The Chief Minister paid her gratitude to the visiting Ambassador for reviving the Diwan-e-Khas of the famed Mughal Garden on the banks of the Dal lake. On her request, Dr. Ney also agreed to take up a similar conservation project for Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex at Jammu under Germany’s Culture Aid Programme.


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