Madi Sharma: Woman who organised MEPs’ Kashmir visit

EU Delegation with PM Modi

New Delhi, Oct 30 : As a delegation of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) completed its tour of Kashmir, questions are being raised over how the “unofficial” visit not mandated by the European Parliament was organized.

In this regard, the name of one Madi Sharma has emerged as the organizer of the all-paid “VIP” trip.

Sharma presents herself as head of an organization called WESTT (Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank), which “has been working with the European Parliament and governments and non-governmental organizations across the world, mainly in South Asia.”

It was she who extended written invitations to select Members of the European Parliament, telling them that she was “organizing a prestigious VIP meeting with the Prime Minister of India, His Excellency Narendra Modi…”

She further wrote, “As you will be aware Prime Minister Modi had a landslide victory in the recent elections in India and is planning to continue on his path fo growth and development for India, the country and its people.”

The invitation letter added, “In that respect, he would like to meet influential decision makers from the European Union. I am, therefore, enquiring if you would be interested to visit Delhi.”

She said the meeting with the Prime Minister “is scheduled” for October 28, with a visit to Kashmir on 29th October and a press conference on 30th October.

“The visit will be of a small group of cross party, pan European politicians on a three-day visit (flight and accommodations will be covered and are sponsored by the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies). Your participation will be as our VIP guest and not in an official capacity as a delegation of members of the European Parliament,” Sharma wrote in email invitation.

A write-up on the Women Economic Forum (WEF) website describes Madi Sharma as UK-based businesswoman “who currently runs the Madi Group, a group of private sector and not-for-profit companies with a philosophy to create innovative ideas tailored to local action which can achieve global impacts beneficial to society.”

“Sharma also heads WESTT Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank, working on concrete solutions for issues facing the development and progress of women in international communities,” it adds.

The write-up says Sharma is “a public speaker internationally, particularly in the field of entrepreneurship, diversity, gender balance with passion for corporate social responsibility.”

She “currently works in India and across Europe with businesses and governments…. Additionally, Madi is a member of The European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels, a Prime Minister’s appointment, representing the Employer’s Group”, the write-up says.

The visit has stirred a major controversy as Opposition parties have attacked the government, questioning why Indian parliamentarians are being denied permission to visit Kashmir when foreign MPs are allowed to go there.

The Congress has said this amounts to subversion of Indian parliamentary democracy.

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