Wion Edit: Did India's move to take European lawmakers to Kashmir backfire?

Delhi Jan 27, 2020, 08.49 PM(IST) Written By: WION

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The constant attempts to seek external validation is a case of misplaced priorities.

An unofficial visit by European lawmakers had a purpose, it was supposed to display normalcy in the Kashmir Valley.

But, from the moment it was announced, the entire affair snowballed into an epic blunder. New Delhi shot itself in the foot again when it invited foreign envoys for a trip to Kashmir.

Access to the newly created Union Territory has been hard to come by. Furthermore, opposition parties and elected lawmakers haven't been allowed to travel to the Valley.

Under these circumstances, visits by foreign delegations can hardly give the headlines the government is looking for. In fact, the move has now led to more international scrutiny of the Indian government.

The government says the CAA and the Kashmir issue are an internal matter of India. And they are right, it was approved by the Indian government and passed by the lawmakers in Parliament. 

Any scrutiny of the law will be done by Indian institutions. The Supreme Court is hearing petitions against the CAA, even the Kashmir move has been legally challenged. 

New Delhi's hurried moves to showcase 'normalcy' in the valley was a damp squib for two reasons:

First, it did not settle the concerns of the international community. In less than 24 hours after the American ambassador visited Kashmir, the US State Department slammed India for the communication blackout in Kashmir.

Second, it opened up the government to more scrutiny from the opposition. 

Despite clarifications, both the trips were labelled as 'guided tours'. The outreach lost its credibility in the process. What followed was a barrage of criticism and the recent protests against the CAA has kept the pot boiling. 

In the process, India's carefully crafted international image is taking a beating. New Delhi is losing out on the momentum it built with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's global outreach. 

While the debate within the European Parliament has no direct impact on India, it does cast a shadow.

Such events set the tone for India's engagements in Europe, especially for the India-EU Summit in March. The constant attempts to seek external validation is a case of misplaced priorities.

The Kashmir move, as well as the CAA, triggered debates but also found support at home. The government's engagements won it the approval or silence of strategic partners outside.

But to bring their lawmakers as inspectors, to seek their approval or certificates was an unmitigated blunder. The government must re-think its strategy.

Kashmir and CAA are internal matters and they don't need external approval. If the government feels the need to impress someone, it should start with Indians, including those who oppose its decisions.

(Disclaimer: WION Edit is the channel's take on the big events of the world)