DUBAI – As India is trying to strengthen its hold over the illegally occupied Muslim region of Jammu and Kashmir, it has stepped up the efforts to bring foreign investment into the disputed region, especially from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In the latest move, Dubai’s ports giant DP World is considering building an inland port in the violence-hit Kashmir where nearly one million Indian troops are trying to suppress the voice of the Kashmiri people who have been demanding the right to self-determination for decades, as promised by the UN resolutions.
Last year, the Indian government had said that Dubai would invest in infrastructure and other projects in the disputed region where tens of thousands of Kashmiris, including women and children, have been killed by Indian occupation forces in fake encounters and door-to-door searches.
Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who is in Dubai this week to promote investment, said DP World would soon visit the 250 acre site earmarked for the inland port facility.
“We will finalize it shortly,” he said, describing the project as a “firm commitment” by the state-owned DP World.
A DP World spokesperson said the company had a “productive meeting” with Sinha this week and that it was preparing a proposal for the project.
The announcement last October that Dubai would invest in the region was the first by any foreign government since Kashmir’s autonomy was revoked in 2019 and the Muslim region was divided into two territories directly ruled by New Delhi.
Emirati newspaper Khaleej Times reported this week that Dubai developer Emaar Properties would build a mall in Srinagar, the main city in the region.`
Lulu Group, a UAE-headquartered company headed by an Indian billionaire, plans to set up a food processing hub there.
But investment in the heavily militarised region is fraught with risk. There are frequent attacks by militants, while the Indian government has faced international criticism for widespread crackdowns there by security forces.
“As far militancy is concerned, we are dealing with it … and I can assure it will be dealt (with) fully,” said Sinha, who insisted the region was a safe place for foreign investment.