EU delegation visit: Little-known think tank behind MEPs invite to India?

According to Thomas Zdechovsky, one of the MEPs whose name is part of the team that visited Kashmir on the invite by Indian-origin Madi Sharma, the MEPs were invited by the IINS.

Published: 31st October 2019 09:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st October 2019 09:36 AM   |  A+A-

Tomas Zdechovsky, Member of the European Parliament with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

Tomas Zdechovsky, Member of the European Parliament with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi

By IANS

NEW DELHI: The European Parliament members who visited Kashmir in their "unofficial capacity", were reportedly invited by the International Institute for Non-aligned Studies, which has a Delhi address.

The International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which calls itself a think-tank for the Non-Aligned Movement, cites its head office address on the website as "A-2/59, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, India."

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Its Twitter account is @iinsNAM and its email address is iins@iins.org.

According to Thomas Zdechovsky, one of the MEPs whose name is part of the team that visited Kashmir on the invite by Indian-origin Madi Sharma, the MEPs were invited by the IINS.

Articles tweeted by @iinsNAM are written by its staff, and published by the little-known New Delhi Times, which is a part of the Srivastava Group.

The address of New Delhi Times too is "A-2/59, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, India".

New Delhi Times says about itself: "New Delhi Times is a part of Srivastava Group, started under the leadership of Dr G.N. Srivastava in 1995, with the purpose of providing real news in Hindi and English from the capital of India to the world.

"Our website provides a glimpse of news updates from all over the world. The website is useful to professionals, students, researchers and the common man. It covers a variety of topics ranging from politics to the economy, foreign policy to investment and sports to culture."

The team at New Delhi Times comprises of "Dr. (Mrs) Pramila Srivastava, Chairperson, Twitter: @PramilaBK; Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor-in-Chief, Twitter: @AnkitNDT; Sujay Dhawan, Editor, Himanshu Sharma, Editor, Pawan Kumar, Editor."

Zdechovsky, in a statement, said: "My schedule and also flights to India were different from the rest of the delegation and I didn't visited Kashmir (sic). A crucial part for me was meeting with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi which I was supposed to have already in August, but the meeting then was cancelled at that time because Mr Modi had to urgently travel to Iran because there was a hijacked boat with many Indians on the board.

ALSO READ: Opposition slams Centre over EU delegation visit to Jammu and Kashmir

"The meetings with other officials now were just held around the same time.

To my knowledge, the other MEPs were invited by the International Institute for Non-aligned Studies but I am not aware about the particular arrangements with the other MEPs.

I have always supported an open dialogue with India. Among the topics which I discussed with officials during my visit was economic cooperation, innovations, the situation in healthcare or fighting poverty."

His spokesperson Jitka Fialova said: "I would add just the fact, that Mr Zdechovsky is a member of centric European peoples party, whose members are also Angela Merkel, J.C. Juncker or Ursula von der Leyen."

Later, she posted a clarification from the MEP: "Sorry for sending you misleading information, the trip in August was cancelled from another reason, I, unfortunately, mixed more things together. Sorry for this."

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