Binoo Joshi

JK News Today Commentary

Jammu, January 14:

Something is changing  in Kashmir at a speed surprising almost everyone . Kashmir,  known as a  world class tourist destination for centuries , Is in news for becoming  a vibrant  hub for investment by the big business houses and the Corporate  world. This change has wider perspectives than mere bringing money that will build infrastructure  and high-class institutions with  vast  potential to generate  employment . It is going to change the image of Kashmir  from a conflict zone to some sort of Silicon Valley in making . It is no exaggeration .

Some of the headlines , dotting the  Gulf newspapers – Khaleej Times  ran the  headlines spoke of the business and investment agreements –  the change in the headlines and the content reflected the new evolving image of Kashmir . It has been possible due to the  personal initiatives of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha , who has taken it as a mission to  help J&K come out of the dark images of the past.

On January 6, the Gulf News  published , “ In a show of solidarity  towards  the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K) in India , several UAE -based business houses signed Memorandum of Understandings  and Letters of Intent to establish robust bilateral trade ties. Five MoUs were  signed at Emirates Towers.”

A  generally accepted presumption is that it all kickstarted when a Real estate Summit was hosted in Jammu on December 2021.  That is true  as far as the optics were concerned . But  it was culmination of a long-drawn process undertaken by  Manoj Sinha  who had pledged to transform the landscape of Jammu and Kashmir – from barren land where the conflict was so wide-ranging that it was taken  as a fait accompli that nothing  positive can happen  here. This jinx had to be broken with a practical strategy that would invoke hope among the people that they can do it.

A step-by-step approach by  the LG administration  helped the things to reach at a pedestal wherefrom J&K could take a high jump to higher pedestals, excelling in all fields . The standard rules had to be applied ; primary of which was to ensure that Kashmir is looked at through a prism of a place that holds promise for safe investment, for that peace is the basic necessity .  Pakistan sponsored terrorism was the biggest hurdle, because the  violence of any nature or dimension, particularly the terrorism driven , kills prospects of development, investment, employment.

The ecosystem of terrorism, constructed by the vested interests and Pakistan, suffered a big dent when Article 370 was abrogated and all the barriers  for development  were demolished. Two-pronged strategy appeared on the scene- relentless operations against the terrorists and their supporters, including harbourers, and generating a narrative of development through welfare schemes , making  natives as stakeholders in partnership with their fellow citizens in the country . Legal hurdles were removed one by one , and then came the era of actual work , building of infrastructures, reaching out to the people , by making basic necessities like tapped water and power supply and smooth connectivity through a maze of road network.

At the real estate summit in Jammu , thousands of crores of investment  came through in health care, hospitality and entertainment sector , and in Dubai several groups signed MoUs to undertake capacity building of J&K to  the world-class matching standards . UAE’s LuLu Group , J&K government signed MoU to set up food processing hub in Srinagar. DP World was engaged to build inland port in J&K . These are few examples of the investment making way to J&K .

The Real Estate Summit was  followed by signing of  the memorandums of understanding between the big players in the global investment based in United Arab Emirates  and Jammu and Kashmir government . The picture, it will shape , in the landscape of the Union  Territory , promises a bright future for generations , and at the moment it will certainly  change the way Kashmir is looked at .

Dubai  for the world represents success  story in almost all spheres of economy , and in the recent years, it has catapulted itself as a big -strategic affairs guiding nation . the sum and substance can be deduced from the way it fostered its ties with  Israel , and that became a catalyst for other nations to follow the suit.

Internationally , it delivered a sound message to the world that Kashmir where guns used to boom is now a fertile land for investment . The investment holds unlimited promise of growth and shaping altogether a new future for the place and the people , as that would paper  Kashmir’s image as a land of  conflict. Investment is the biggest antidote to the elements of terrorism . The economy is the bonding force , and nowadays nothing matters more than the economic well-being.