Extremely tight security is certain across Jammu Kashmir Union Territory for a G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar May 22-24. Officials from 19 countries and the EU are scheduled to attend the event at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC). Guests will also visit a resort in Gulmarg, Baramulla District. Officials will deploy military, paramilitary, and police forces to guard the event. Heightened security measures and traffic restrictions will affect event venues, Srinagar International Airport (SXR), and hotels and routes used by delegates.
Known terror groups, mainly Islamist and separatist outfits, are active in the region. These include The Resistance Front – a separatist militant group Indian agencies claim has ties to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) – and the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group and its affiliates. Although authorities have not publicized any specific threat to the event, officials have announced intensive counter-terror measures, including drills, land border patrols in districts bordering Pakistan, and maritime patrols along the Dal Lake near SKICC. Officials are also imposing enhanced security measures, such as vehicular and pedestrian checks at sensitive sites like major roadways, government buildings, security installations, and crowded public places across the region through May 24. Military-affiliated schools are closed through May 25 as a security precaution; additional school and business closures may occur.
Pro-Pakistan activists have called for a shutdown strike across the Jammu and Kashmir region, including both Indian- and Pakistan-administered areas, during the meeting. The action is to denounce New Delhi’s decision to host the international event in the area despite ongoing territorial disputes between India and Pakistan. The strike and likely related protests will probably cause commercial and transport disruptions, mainly in the Kashmir Valley, where strike participation is typically the highest. Demonstrators may block or march on major roadways, especially sections of National Highway 44. Public and private transport operators in the Kashmir Valley may suspend operations over security concerns. Other protests are possible in the lead-up to and during the summit. Security forces will likely monitor any demonstrations that materialize and may attempt to disperse especially disruptive gatherings. Localized curfews, road closures, and telecommunications and internet services restrictions are probable to prevent or control violence. Activists may clash with security forces and engage in arson and vandalism.
Avoid SKICC and other event venues as a security precaution if not attending. Limit exposure to rally sites and potential militant targets. Allow additional time for transport, including to and from SXR May 22-24. Present proper identification documents and remain cooperative if stopped by officials for checks. Avoid all demonstrations as a precaution. If any violence erupts nearby, immediately leave the area and seek shelter at a safe nongovernment building. Confirm all business appointments and transport reservations during any shutdown strikes. Heed all transport and security advisories, and remain alert for possible curfews and other restrictions.