Srinagar is witnessing an extraordinary display of security arrangements as it prepares to host the 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group meeting from May 22-24. In anticipation of potential disruptions, the city has been placed under an unprecedented security blanket, with Marine commandos and National Security Guards (NSG) being deployed to bolster the ground-to-air security cover.
The serene Dal Lake, surrounding the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC), the venue for the G20 meeting, has been entrusted to the vigilant Marine commandos, also known as Marcos. Meanwhile, the NSG commandos, in collaboration with local police and paramilitary forces, are conducting area domination exercises, including searches at prominent locations such as Lal Chowk.
To ensure the safety of delegates and participants, the security grid comprises a comprehensive three-tier arrangement involving the Army, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and the Jammu and Kashmir Police. The joint efforts aim to thwart any potential terrorist threats that might target the high-profile G20 event in the picturesque region.
Vijay Kumar, the Additional Director General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, emphasized the multifaceted security measures, stating, “We have made three-tier security arrangements. Anti-drone equipment is being deployed with the help of NSG and army. For Dal Lake security, Marcos are being deployed besides the police. Police, BSF, CRPF, and SSB are being deployed to ensure an incident-free event.”
With an expected attendance of around 100 delegates, the 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar aims to foster discussions on crucial tourism-related matters. However, reports suggest that China and Turkey may not be present at the meeting.
The schedule originally included a meeting on May 24 at Gulmarg, the renowned health and ski resort. Nevertheless, due to logistical challenges rather than security concerns, the venue has been canceled. While precautionary measures are being taken, several prominent schools in Srinagar have been temporarily closed until May 25. Additionally, employees belonging to Kashmiri Pandit and other minority groups have been advised not to report to work during this period.
Security agencies have received intelligence inputs indicating potential terrorist activities aimed at disrupting the G20 event. In response, security forces have recalibrated their strategies to prevent any untoward incidents. Recent attacks in Rajouri and Poonch, resulting in the loss of ten army soldiers, including five special forces commandos, have further underscored the need for enhanced vigilance.
To counter potential threats, the police and security forces have launched a massive crackdown, detaining and arresting numerous suspects and separatists across various parts of Kashmir. Authorities are also alerting the public about false rumors being spread through international mobile phone numbers, particularly those originating from British phone numbers, as part of anti-G20 propaganda. The advisory urges individuals to remain vigilant and refrain from responding to suspicious calls.
As the countdown to the 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group meeting continues, the security arrangements in Srinagar stand as a testament to the authorities’ commitment to ensuring the safety and smooth conduct of the event. By deploying elite forces and implementing extensive security measures, the city aims to showcase its ability to host international gatherings while maintaining a robust defense against potential threats.