JAMMU: After Jammu and Kashmir, the Union Territory of Ladakh has also geared up for G20 meetings or visit by the foreign leaders to Leh and Kargil by nominating two senior IAS and IPS officers as the UT-level Nodal Officers.

Official sources, however, told the Excelsior that either some meetings could be held in the Union Territory of Ladakh, which was part of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir till August 5, 2019, or some leaders of G20 Summit could visit Leh and Kargil and for this, the UT Administration today nominated two senior officers as Nodal Officers.

“Recently, China had opposed India’s move to hold G20 Summit in Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Government’s move to either hold some of the meetings or arrange visits of G20 leaders to Ladakh is being seen as major snub to China,” sources said.

Indian and Chinese militaries are involved in major standoff for over two years now in Eastern Ladakh. While disengagement has taken place from some of the areas, the troops of two countries remained in eyeball-to-eyeball position at other places.

The Nodal Officers nominated by the Union Territory of Ladakh administration include Saugat Biswas, Commissioner/ Secretary, Industries and Commerce Department-cum-Divisional Commissioner of Ladakh and Sheikh Junaid Mehmood, DIG Leh-Kargil Range.

Biswas will be Nodal Officer/Overall Coordinator at the Union Territory level.

An order issued by Commissioner/ Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) Ajeet Kumar Sahu said Biswas will further take necessary steps for constituting a Core Coordination Team consisting of officers/officials from the departments of Municipal administration, Police, Tourism & Culture and Protocol or any other department as deemed necessary.

Sheikh Junaid Mehmood has been nominated as the Nodal Officer for Security Coordination.

Mehmood has been asked to take steps for constituting a Security Coordination Team which may include officers from Intelligence, Law and Order, Traffic, FRRO Office ISW and any other department as deemed fit.

“The Security Coordination Team may work under the guidance of the ADGP Ladakh,” the GAD order said.

It added that the Nodal Officers shall on behalf of the Administration of UT of Ladakh ensure other logistical arrangements required at every stage of hosting the meetings as requested by the G20 Secretariat vide ibid communication.

They added that conduct of such an event in Jammu and Kashmir especially in the Valley will show that the UT is near normal and capable of holding international events of grand scale especially after abrogation of special status of erstwhile State.

As per the sources, the External Affairs Ministry has to consult all heads of G20 before finalizing timing of the meetings. In view of this, a decision on timing and venue might well be taken by the end of this year.

The G20 is an influential grouping that brings together the world’s major economies.

In September last year, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal was appointed as India’s Sherpa for the G20. The Ministry of External Affairs had said that India will hold the G20 presidency from December 1, 2022, and will convene the G20 leaders’ summit in 2023 for the first time.

Prime Minister Modi has been leading India’s representation at G20 summits since 2014. India has been a member of the G20 since its inception in 1999.

According to the MEA, India will be part of the G20 Troika (preceding, current, and incoming G20 Presidencies) from December 1, 2021 till November 30, 2024.

G20 member nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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