Dubai is emerging as a major partner in Jammu and Kashmirs development. During the past few months, the Jammu and Kashmir government has signed a slew of Memorandums of Understanding with Dubai to build strong business relations and carry forward the process of taking the uNion Territory to new heights.
In October 2021, the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two governments to develop real estate, industrial parks, super specialty hospital and more.
In December last year the J&K Government signed a MoU with University College Birmingham (UCB) Dubai to explore potential progression opportunities through institutional partnership with vocational colleges and universities in Kashmir.
The UCB would set up an office in J&K for tying up with the local educational institutions, facilitating academic exchange programmes while enabling students to secure admissions at reduced fees in the Middle East.
On January 5, 2022, the J&K Government signed a historic MoU with Dubai based LuLu Group to set up a food processing & logistics hub in Srinagar. The agreement was aimed at further expanding Jammu Kashmir-Dubai collaboration. The MoU with the LuLu Group would help the products from J&K to reach out to shoppers at 190 LuLu Hypermarkets across the Gulf countries and Egypt.
World recognizing J&K’s transition
The Dubai making an entry into Jammu and Kashmir for the first time in the past 70-years is a beginning of world recognizing the pace with which J&K is traversing on the development bandwagon. It is a strong signal to the international community that India is transforming into a global power and Jammu & Kashmir has a significant role in it.
Till August 5, 2019, when the Centre announced its decision to abrogate J&K’s special status and divided it into two Union Territories, no foreign country wanted to invest in Jammu and Kashmir as the so-called special status of the erstwhile State didn’t allow the outsiders to invest in J&K. However, after August 5, 2019 the things have changed. The Union Territory has opened up and investors have been made aware about the dividends they can reap by investing in J&K. The government has also ensured them that their investments are safe and they would do good business in J&K.
Dubai venturing into Jammu and Kashmir is a signal to Pakistan that it’s not interested in its propaganda about Kashmir being a problem that needs to be settled and Muslim countries should support it’s argument. The United Arab Emirates has a powerful presence in Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC)an alliance of 56 countries in which Islam plays a significant role, with Islam as the state religion, or countries where Muslims form the majority of the population.
By coming forward the UAE has sent a strong message to the OIC that it should focus on building strong relations with India rather than getting swayed away by the narrative built by Pakistan.
Soon after India had revoked J&K special status two years ago, Pakistan had knocked the door of every Muslim country to intimidate India to reverse its decision but all the nations closed their doors on Pakistan and made it clear that they won’t interfere in India’s internal matters. All the attempts of Prime Minister Imran Khan to internationalize Kashmir didn’t yield any result.
Muslim countries endorse India’s stand
When Dubai signed the first MoU with the J&K Government it had outraged helmsmen in Pakistan. They had expressed dismay by stating that the Gulf countries don’t respect the sentiments of Pakistan. The opposition parties in Pakistan had blamed the Imran Khan led regime of having no Kashmir policy and Kashmir slipping out of the hands of their country.
The Muslim countries by endorsing India’s stand on Jammu and Kashmir have a strong message to Pakistan that they stand with India and have no second thoughts about J&K being an integral part of India.
Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir and its attempts to internationalisethe issue were heavily dependent on the OIC support but during the past two years it has lost that support to a great extent. Dubai’s decision to invest in J&K has driven home a point that Pakistan has no locus standi on Kashmir.
Iran and other Gulf countries are also exploring options to venture into Jammu and Kashmir. And once a few more nations come forward it would be a big setback for Pakistan and its rulers, who during all these years, have been dreaming about snatching Kashmir from India.
Centre fulfilling promises
J&K witnessing an unprecedented development in every sector and the government opening up the Himalayan region for the outsiders during the past two years have changed the destiny of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Opportunities are knocking at the doors of a common man. What looked impossible during the past 70-years has become possible. The promises that were made to the people of J&K by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, on August 5, 2019, after scrapping Article 370 temporary provision in Indian Constitutionare being fulfilled. J&K people too are supporting the moves of the Government of India as they have realized that all the initiatives are aimed at empowering them.
Pak, its advocates in Kashmir become irrelevant
Pakistan and its advocates in Jammu and Kashmir have been made to eat a humble pie. The Muslim countries showing no interest in so-called Kashmir issue and not paying much heed towards Pakistan’s claim about J&K being a disputed region have left extremists high and dry. Dubai Government investing in J&K is a clear snub to Pakistan and those Kashmiri leaders, who used to claim that all Muslim countries support the purported Kashmir movement.
Scrapping of Article 370 has proven beyond doubt that people of Kashmir never supported the so-called “freedom struggle” and they were forced into submission due to fear of guns. J&K people are welcoming the new investments with open arms and mind. The dream merchants who used to sell illusions about Azadi and Pakistan have become irrelevant as their shops stand closed.
Kashmiri youth have realized that Pakistan’s propaganda is nothing but a death trap and their future is safe and secure with India.