During LG Manoj Sinha’s visit to Dubai last week, agreements were signed with LuLu Group, Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC & Noon Group in various sectors. Also, DP World will build an inland port in J&K

In what could bring in huge investments and create jobs in Jammu and Kashmir, seven government and private-owned UAE-based companies have made commitments to invest in J&K.

During LG Manoj Sinha’s visit to Dubai last week, agreements were signed with LuLu Group, Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC & Noon Group in various sectors. Also, DP World will build an inland port in J&K. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for $-100 million investment by Century Financial was also signed.

Addressing the Investors and Business Leaders Summit at EXPO Dubai, LG Manoj Sinha said, “The relationship between India and the UAE has matured enough over the years to become enduring ‘Global Partners’ in the 21st century. These are those times in the journey of Jammu and Kashmir where opportunities are in plenty.”

“Due to transparent policies and ease of doing business, we were able to get investment proposals worth ₹45,000 crore and additional ₹18,300 crore in real estate sector,” said the Lt Governor, adding, “The security situation has significantly improved and we are receiving 1.4 million tourists on an average every month, clearly indicating a conducive environment for the business to flourish.”

“I promise you unprecedented speed in clearing proposals and requisite documentation, unprecedented support from the government and unprecedented stable environment to tap rapidly growing opportunities in the Union Territory. I assure you that the government will be a facilitator, partner, provider, collaborator and promoter at every step to ensure sustainable, balanced, progressive and competitive business environment for traditional core sectors and new-age tech driven sectors,” Sinha added.

Experts have called it a masterstroke on diplomatic as well as political front. A former DGP, who served in J&K, told News18, “This is a huge move diplomatically as an important OIC country UAE is investing in the union territory and this implies that they recognise that India’s claim is valid. Also, it is a big setback for Pakistan as the neighbouring country has been mobilising the OIC group on Kashmir. But now OIC countries are beginning to recognise Kashmir as an integral part of India. If UAE investments go up, then Saudis may follow."

He added it was a genius move of getting around all the things that did not succeed earlier.

Local parties like the NC and PDP will also not question the investments from an Islamic Country, contrary to the fears of the “demographic changes” raised by these parties in case of investments by Indian companies, while some of these parties also advocated for trade ties with Pakistan.

Former Indian Envoy to UAE, Navdeep Suri, who is presently co-chair, FICCI Dubai Expo, in an exclusive interview told News18, that if India provided a red carpet to foreign investors and created a few success stories, and these companies had a good experience in the UT, others will follow suit.

“Also, an unemployed frustrated youth won’t be tempted to choose the wrong path if there are employment opportunities before him. It is an important development as both government and private UAE companies are making commitments for investments in J&K. DP World is one of the world’s largest logistics and ports company and UAE has 51% stake in the company. DP World’s investment in the Union Territory has economic as well as political importance. The economic importance is that they have said they will set up logistics centres, a multi-model hub that would provide export market to the produce of the UT, and also create jobs. But politically, the signal is important. It means that an important Gulf Country’s multinational company wants to invest in J&K.”

“Similarly, investments such as EMAAR’s announcement of building a mall have a psychological importance too. In the private sector, for example, when Lulu Group’s food-packaging and processing facility would give an impetus to industrialisation and also fresh fruits from Kashmir will get a global market, along with the right price to fruit growers,” Suri said.

“After PM Modi’s first visit to the UAE in 2015, India-UAE relationship has seen tremendous progress. The UAE admires India as we are a secular country. The UAE is investing in the UT of J&K because of the UAE’s strategic partnership with India,” he added.

Shesh Paul Vaid, former DGP of J&K, said, “The new employment opportunities will motivate local Kashmiri youth to make their career in the corporate sector, so they won’t fall prey to the false propaganda of Pakistani agents who lure them to join militancy. Also, business houses established by the investors of UAE won’t be targeted by Pakistan-sponsored terrorists because Pakistan Army and other agencies won’t afford to cause any damage to such business establishments in J&K.”

Among the agreements, an MoU was signed between the J&K government and LuLu Group to set up a food processing and logistics hub in Srinagar. The MoU with the LuLu group will help the UT to reach out to shoppers at 190 LuLu hypermarkets across the GCC and Egypt.

The lieutenant governor also held a meeting with the chairman of DP world, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. DP World is set to build an inland port in Jammu and Kashmir.

The J&K government also signed an MoU with UAE’s pioneering financial services company Century Financial that will invest $-100 million in the union territory.

The investment will cover three hotels and one commercial-cum-residential complex in Jammu and Kashmir. The owner of Century Financial Bal Krishen is originally a native of the Doda district of Jammu and has been a forerunner in supporting J&K.