Madi Sharma, who finds herself in the eye of the storm surrounding the controversy over a group of European parliamentarians visit to Srinagar, has been linked to a similar episode in the Maldives back in 2018.
Madi Sharma is a Brussels-based person of Indian origin who was behind organizing the trip of the 23 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) into Jammu and Kashmir.
The 23 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) who visited J&K were not part of an official delegation of the European Parliament, nor were they invited by the Ministry of External Affairs. The invitations were, in fact, sent by Madi Sharma on behalf of the Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT), an NGO she runs. The NGO itself is reportedly part of Sharma’s Madi Group.
Sharma apparently promised a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a visit to Kashmir in her email invitation made public by NDTV.
Revealing Madi Sharma’s role in the invitation to the European MPs who visited Kashmir, NDTV journalist Sreenivasan Jain tweeted along with invitation letter: “The invitation to the European MP's was sent out by someone called Madi Sharma. She promised a 'prestigious VIP meeting' with India's Prime Minister, in addition to the Kashmir trip. (Screenshot of her mail exchange with MEP Chris Davies, released by his office) @OnReality_Check”
Criticising the event, Congress spokesperson Surjewala said in a press conference: "Twenty-seven members of European Parliament were brought to India by a non-descript think tank with questionable credentials to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, visit Kashmir and hold press briefing. Of course, only 23 went to Kashmir on a BJP Government facilitated trip as four members of the delegation returned from Delhi itself”.
"Modi Government has made a spectacle of India’s diplomacy by outsourcing diplomacy to an ‘International Business Broker’", he further alleged. The Congress leader asked that will the Prime Minister tell who is ‘Madi Sharma’? "What is BJP’s connection to ‘Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank’ as also to ‘International Institute for Non-aligned Studies’? Why and in what capacity is Madi Sharma fixing an appointment with the Prime Minister for a delegation of EU MPs on a personal visit and why is Government of India facilitating it? Where is the money to finance the entire visit coming from? Why has MEA been completely sidelined?", he asked.