All the efforts that went into transforming the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir are finally bearing fruit. Slew of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with Dubai to build strong business relations are proof of J&K developments, especially in the hospitality and tourism sectors, since the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. Now, UAE's top conglomerates see J&K as a promising land for investment, overthrowing Pakistan's propaganda about Kashmir.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has made strides in proving J&K as a promising land for investment and has already raked in more than ₹17,831 crore in investments for UT from UAE in a short duration of just two days. This is a major landmark for the administration, which has worked tirelessly to turn around the image of J&K since the abrogation of J&K's special status. 

In October last year, the first MoU was signed between the governments of J&K and Dubai to develop real estate, industrial parks, super specialty hospital and more. Many UAE firms have since come forward to take J&K to new heights. According to a government official, major UAE companies such as Emaar, Lulu Group, Noon and DP World will drive growth in J&K. Rightly so, University College Birmingham (UCB) Dubai, Century Financial, Lulu Group have signed MoUs with the J&K government in recent months.

J&K's development attracts UAE's top conglomerates; a new dawn for UT [details]

J&K's development attracts UAE firms

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. Furthermore, the UCB aims to enable students to secure admissions in the Middle East at reduced fees. And to that extent, it vowed to set up an office in J&K to feel the pulse of local educational institutes and facilitate academic exchange programmes.

2022 was off to a good start for J&K. The UT administration signed another major MoU with Dubai-based Lulu Group to set up a food processing & logistics hub in Srinagar. With this, the J&K-Dubai collaboration expanded its roots and would help the products from the UT to reach out to shoppers at 190 LuLu Hypermarkets across the Gulf countries and Egypt. The "vocal for local" mantra just took a global flight.

Craft Mela at Kashmir Haat: Vocal for Local a boon for artisans and tourists in J&K [details]
Twitter/Manoj Sinha

"We have a direct flight between Sharjah and Srinagar which highlights the direct connectivity between the UAE and J&K and will be pivotal in sustaining continued access," Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary, Industry & Commerce, J&K, said during the inauguration of the J&K Week at the India Pavilion in Expo 2020 Dubai, Gulf News reported.

He further added that tourism will be a crucial sector for growth and Kashmir will emerge as a key destination for development of hotels, hospitals, handloom and horticulture, while Jammu will be focused on production, Pharma, inland container depot and real estate sectors.

Now, DP World plans to develop logistics infrastructure in J&K, which is yet another boost to the budding relationship with the two governments. Separately, Century Financial, UAE's financial services company, signed an MoU with the J&K government at a special event presided by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha earlier this month and committed to investing $100 million in the UT. The investment will cover three hotels and one commercial-cum-residential complex in Jammu & Kashmir.

J&K's development attracts UAE's top conglomerates; a new dawn for UT [details]
Manoj Sinha chaired the Business Summit organized to showcase opportunities and boost investments in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir on the sidelines of J&K's participation in Dubai Expo 2020 at India Pavilionvia Twitter

"We are happy to see the interest shown by UAE's big business houses and leaders in supporting this vision of our honourable Prime Minister. Global business & industry are waking up to the vistas of opportunity in Jammu and Kashmir. Despite challenges of global pandemic, neither the pace of economic and policy reforms nor the implementation of key infrastructure projects has slowed in any way in UT and we as responsive administration will continue to respond to business's concerns," Sinha had said.

Additionally, J&K government has signed crucial MoUs with global investors, including Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC and an LoI with Magna Waves at Dubai Expo. J&K LG, during the Investors Summit in Dubai, said that J&K has received investments to the tune of $2.5 billion in 2021.

"J&K has moved from a sleeping business destination to the land of opportunities and investment." he said.