CAN THE WORLD’S MOST MILITARIZED ZONE BECOME A TRADE HUB USING GULF MONEY



New Delhi: A 36-member delegation of business representatives from UAE and Gulf countries attended the Gulf Investment Summit at Srinagar’s SKICC on 22 Mar 2022. Indian appointed Lt Governor of IIOJK said that “he hopes to increase outside investment in J&K to more than ₹70,000 crore from the current ₹27,000 crore in the next six months, which will generate employment for 6-7 lakh people”. As per Indian claims, J-K administration has cleared investment proposals of Rs 27,000 crores at Gulf Investment Summit. This all was made possible with the removal of Articles 370 and 35A. The Indian efforts and tall claims of vast economic opportunities in IIOJK to persuade Gulf countries are marred in self-serving hegemonic designs. The experts believe that India is leveraging its huge market and trade ties with Gulf using their wealth to gain/ establish legitimacy in order to pacify the growing criticism from its domestic and international public opinion. The strongest argument to dis-qualify the Indian claims of foreign investment in IIOJK is the lack of understanding by Indian government of most basic pre-requisite for FDI. On the contrary in the case of IIOJK which is a highly militarized conflict ridden nuclear flash point no sane investor will even think to invest. Despite Indian assertions of deep socio-political and maritime bonds shared by the Arab nation and India, which go well beyond the time even before the UAE came into existence in 1971, the idea of developing huge economic stakes in UN declared disputed area is beyond comprehension. The only explanation which comes to the mind is that Indians have somehow convinced the Gulf countries through deceit and bluff. A report by the Forum of Human Rights in Jammu and Kashmir described the ground realities in a more vivid way, “From agriculture to horticulture, construction and real estate to handicrafts and manufacturing, transport to tourism, and IT to startups, every business saw at least a 50 percent drop in earnings, in the disputed territory. India will gain some political benefits but Kashmiri people and Gulf will surely suffer. There is big question mark on the Indian sincerity towards Kashmir’s economic development focused on benefitting Kashmiri people. Indian government’s policies are bent to establish its firm grip on the region through brutal use of force and this is the reason IIOJK has been called by international community as open jail by UN and other international HRs organizations.