The G20 Meeting: Hosting International Meetings in Occupied Territory

Lina B.

Date published: Thu, 25 May 23

G20 is an intergovernmental group aimed at strengthening and shaping global economic cooperation. Of the countries comprising this group is India. India is hosting the G20 meeting this year in occupied Srinagar. The meeting is a working group that was attended by 60 delegates this week. 

In 2019, the Indian government stripped occupied Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status and split it into two federal territories in order to integrate the region into India. The Kashmir Valley has been occupied by the Indian state since the Partition of India. 

The move to host the G20 meeting in Kashmir is a significant, calculated decision. By hosting the meeting in Kashmir, India is embracing a full propagandized campaign cloaked in tourism, similar to what Israel does to occupied Palestine. The Guardian reports, “Indian authorities hoped the meeting would show that the controversial changes have brought ‘peace and prosperity’ to the region and that it is a safe place for tourists.” The move is further significant because under international law, Kashmir is a disputed territory. The G20 countries that attended the meeting are complicit in the normalization of settler colonialism in Kashmir. 

Significantly, China and Saudi Arabia did not attend. Chinese authorities have said that they are opposed to “holding any kind of G20 meetings in disputed territory.” 

In order to prepare for the G20 meeting, Indian authorities conducted a sweep of Kashmir, to prepare it for an international stage. Freedom of speech and media in Kashmir is under constant attack, with journalists continuously being arrested and tortured.

Be wary of foreign media describing the situation in Kashmir as normal – this is exactly what the Indian state is attempting to do – normalizing the occupation. Al Jazeera reports, “The meeting – the region’s first international event since 2019 – is being held under heightened security arrangements although visible signs of security deployments in one of the world’s most militarised regions have been removed.” Locals were banned during the meeting from areas near the main venue while schools in some parts of the city were closed till the end of the meeting. 

Overall, recognize India as a settler colonialist and oppressor. Do not allow foreign media or Indian media to spin the narrative towards normalcy, because life in Kashmir is anything but normal. We must recognize Kashmir for what it is – occupied territory.