Beijing, Jan 29: China on Monday said it is ready to hold talks with India to resolve their differences on the contentious $50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that passes through PaK.
Asked about Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale’s interview to state-run Global Times in which he had said that differences on the CPEC should not be swept under the carpet, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China is willing to hold talks with India in this regard.
“I noted the relevant report. Regarding the CPEC, China has repeatedly reiterated our position. As to the differences between China and India, China stands ready to communicate and hold talks with India to seek a proper solution so that these differences will not affect our general national interests. This best serves the interests of the two countries,” she said.
As to any differences arising between the two countries, they can be resolved with sincerity and mutual respect, she said, adding that the parties can seek proper solution for management of the differences.
“We should not ask one party alone to solve this problem. We are willing to work with India to work with dialogue and communication for a better solution,” she said.
“CPEC is merely an economic cooperation project. It has not targeted any third party. We hope the Indian side can put this in perspective and we stand ready to strengthen cooperation with the Indian side,” she said.
India has objected to the $50 billion CPEC as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The CPEC is a network of infrastructure projects that are currently under construction throughout Pakistan that will connect China’s Xinjiang province with Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province.
Fog disrupts air traffic for 3rd straight day
Srinagar, Dec 9: No flights could operate from Srinagar airport for the third consecutive day due to poor visibility.
The Meteorological (Met) Department has warned that foggy conditions will continue for the next 48-hours.
“There will be a slight improvement in the foggy weather on Tuesday, and then the weather will improve from Wednesday,” said Sonam Lotus, Director, Met Department, Kashmir.
He said for the last ten days Kashmir has mostly seen dry weather with a slow wind speed, resulting in foggy conditions.
Lotus said there will be a significant improvement in the foggy conditions from Tuesday.
“Significant improvement (in visibility) is expected from Tuesday onwards,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
The valley, he said, will witness light rains on December 11.
“Moderate to heavy snowfall is predicted between the intervening night of 12 and 13 December,” said Lotus.
“Below freezing temperature, calm winds (1 to 2 km per hour), more than 75% humidity, and suspended dust particles in the atmosphere are the reasons for such dense fog,” he added.
Lotus said that similar foggy conditions occurred back in November months of 2015 and 2016.
The Met Department has predicated snowfall in Kashmir from December 12 and 13 due to a fresh western disturbance.
According to a government advisory, an active western disturbance is most likely to affect the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and adjoining areas from December to 10-14, 2019.
“Under the influence of this weather system, widespread moderate rain/snow is expected at a few places of Kashmir on December 10, thereafter increase in intensity and distribution will happen.”
The weather advisory says the system is likely to cause heavy rain/snow mainly in Pirpanjal range of Jammu division (from Baderwah to Banihal), upper reaches of Kashmir (Gulmarg, Sonmarg, Baramulla and Kupwara, and Drass subdivision of Ladakh Union Territory.
“This may lead to disruption of surface and air transport including Jammu-Srinagar national highway. Srinagar-Leh National highway (Zojilla pass), Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal road and Sadhana pass and there would be a further dip in temperature.”
There has been a significant drop in temperature due to prevailing cold wave conditions in Kashmir.
The night temperature in Srinagar was recorded at minus 2.6 degrees and minus 4.2 degrees in the ski resort Gulmarg.
87% fewer tourists visited Valley: Report
Srinagar, Dec 9: The number of domestic tourists who visited Kashmir from August to November this year fell 87% compared to the same period last year, The Times of India reported on Monday. The number was 32,411, as against 2.49 lakh during August-November 2018. The number of foreign tourists fell 82% during the four-month period – from 19,167 in 2018 to just 3,413 this year.
However, November was the best month since August, with 10,946 domestic and 1,140 foreign tourists visiting the Union Territory.
The drop in the number of tourists appears to be a consequence of the Centre’s decision to impose prohibitory orders after abrogating the special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The decision was taken on August 5. Prohibitory orders are gradually being lifted.
On October 10, the Jammu and Kashmir administration lifted its advisory against tourists in the Valley. Postpaid mobile services have resumed in the Valley, but internet connectivity remains blocked.
In June and July, Kashmir received 1.62 lakh and 1.49 lakh domestic tourists. This was around 27% higher than the figures for June and July 2018.
Parvez Baba, the owner of Hotel Samci Riviera in Srinagar’s Rajbagh, told The Times of India that he has only four rooms out of 24 occupied this week. “My hotel is just three years old and I can’t afford to lose any business that comes my way,” he said. “If I charge Rs 4,000 per room, what chance do I have of getting a guest?”
JK Govt announces winter vacations for schools from Dec 10
SRINAGAR, DECEMBER 09: Government today ordered winter vacation for all Government Educational Institutions and recognized private schools up to Higher Secondary level functioning in the Kashmir Division and winter zone areas of Jammu Division from December 10 to February 22, 2020.
The order was issued in view of foggy conditions and forecast of further dip in temperature along with rains and snowfall over next week.