Srinagar: Counter-drone teams of the elite NSG are scanning the sky, marine commandos of the navy patrolling the picturesque Dal Lake and scores of security personnel are on vigil on the ground to ensure a safe and secure G20 meeting beginning here on Monday, officials said.
Preparing to receive at least 60 delegates and 20 journalists from different parts of the world, the authorities in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir have made elaborate arrangements for the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC).
This is the first international meeting being held in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Aiming to ensure minimum policing and maximum security, the Jammu and Kashmir Police has roped in the army to cover the higher reaches of the Zabarwan Range overlooking the meeting venue and accommodation facilities for the guests.
Thirty companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which had earlier been taken out of Jammu and Kashmir for election duty in the rest of the country, have since been recalled to further strengthen security in the valley, where intelligence intercepts have suggested the presence of improvised explosive devices or a vehicle-based IED.
Officials said teams of the National Security Guard (NSG) counter-drone unit have been pressed into service to ensure that no unwanted aerial intrusion takes place. A hit team of the elite “Black Cat” commandos is in readiness to deal with any terrorist incident and a hostage-like situation.
“MARCOS teams will be patrolling the Dal Lake along with personnel from the river wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and CRPF as the convention centre is located on the bank of the water body,” an official involved with the security preparations said.
The marine commandos, or MARCOS, of the navy have been stationed at the Wulur Lake in the valley since mid-1990s to prevent any infiltration from the Line of Control as terrorists had been using the water body to enter into the hinterland.
The officials said that a proposed visit of the delegation to Gulmarg, also known as Switzerland of Asia, had to be dropped in view of the paucity of time.
They said the delegates would visit Pari Mahal, Chesmashai and other Mughal gardens, besides taking a walk on the renovated Polo View Market, before leaving Kashmir Valley on Wednesday.
The first working group meeting on tourism was held in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat in February and the second one in West Bengal’s Siliguri in April.