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UAE Delegation’s Kashmir Visit Sparks Hope For Major Investment Announcement

© Sputnik / Azaan JavaidJammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha addressing the press on Tuesday in Srinagar along with visiting delegation from UAE and other Gulf nations
Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha addressing the press on Tuesday in Srinagar along with visiting delegation from UAE and other Gulf nations - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.03.2022
Jammu and Kashmir's Lieutenant-Governor, Manoj Sinha, invited top UAE businessmen to Kashmir while he was visiting the Arab nation in January this year.
A visit by a team of UAE businessmen to India’s Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory has triggered hopes in the local administration that a major investment is about to be announced.
The 36-member delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf countries on Tuesday said they would like to make major infrastructure investments in the business sectors in the region.
Talking to reporters at the Sher-I-Kashmir International Convention centre in the city of Srinagar, a member of the delegation hinted that they came to Kashmir to undertake important steps for major investment.
Abdulla Mohammed Yousuf Abdulla Aisha Bani, chief executive of the Emirates International Investment group, said: “We are not here to waste time, we came here for something.
“It is beneficial for both the UAE and India, and especially Jammu and Kashmir,” Aisha Bani added.
Officials from the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Government told Sputnik that the delegation has shown interest in investing in hospitals, educational institutions and the hospitality industry.
The announcement regarding investment plans and memorandums of understanding signed between UAE companies and the J & K government are expected to be made public during the three-day visit.
Lieutenant-Governor Manoj Sinha said during a joint press conference that he was hoping for “outside investment” (foreign investment) of more than INR700 billion ($9.1 billion)
The development comes on the heels of the 48th Conference of Foreign Ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Islamabad.
Also, it is the first time an Arab business delegation has visited the region since the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir state’s special status in 2019.
The Pakistani government had lodged strong protests at the United Nation accusing India of breaking international bilateral agreements and law by taking a unanimous decision.
The Indian government at the time maintained that the region would witness a new era of infrastructural development.
“A new industrial scheme was made by the GOI (Government of India) for J&K where incentives worth INR282 billion ($3.7 billion) were proposed. The industrial incentive scheme of J&K is better than industrial schemes in other states of India,” said Sinha, adding that 500,000 to 600,000 jobs will be created as a result of the investments.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir’s National Conference party described the visit as an “annual ritual”.
“We welcome any move that aims to increase revenue and jobs in Jammu and Kashmir. But unfortunately, we have been hearing many announcements about future investments,” Imran Dar, the state spokesman for the regional National Conference party, said.
“There is very little work on the ground for the government to show something concrete has happened,” he added.
A faculty member of the Social Sciences Department in Kashmir University, who asked to remain anonymous, said that it looks as though “the visit was a part of the optics of normalcy which the GOI (Government of India) is deploying alongside a neo-liberal developmental discourse”.
Lieutenant-Governor Sinha, however, has stated that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, India and the UAE have reached new levels of friendship and cooperation.
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