UAE-India Investor Summit held in Srinagar
Srinagar/IBNS: A UAE-India Investor Summit took place in Srinagar city on March 19.
Entrepreneurs from various emirates held meetings with representatives of the Jammu and Kashmir government, networking for business opportunities and exploring prospects of foreign investment in the Union Territory.
India has eight federally governed Union Territories. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), of which Srinagar is the capital, came into effect as Union Territory (UT) from October 2019.
Lieutenant Governor (LG), Manoj Sinha addressed the delegates, interacting with the participants from UAE and across the country at Srinagar.
Describing the occasion as a historic opportunity, the Lt Governor said, the India-UAE meet was a unique opportunity for free and frank exchanges of views on opportunities for investment in J&K, appreciating the enthusiasm and faith of foreign investors in the resilience of the UT of J&K.
Highlighting the impressive progress with structural reforms in recent years, and outlining the scope for private and foreign investments in various sectors in J&K, he called upon the business leaders from UAE to become partner in the development of J&K.
The LG promised to ensure that investors receive every kind of assistance, facilitation and support from the administration.
The LG assured the investors that the land for projects would be allocated within 15 days from the submission of the proposal.
Earlier in the morning, he presided over the foundation stone laying ceremony for a 1 million square feet Mall to be developed by the Emaar Group in Srinagar. A total of INR 250 crores will be invested in the development of the Mall.
He described it as a historic moment, marking the launch of the first Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Emaar group has received two more plots of land in Srinagar and Jammu respectively, where they proposed to build IT towers. INR 150 crores will be invested in the construction of each of these towers.
The Emaar group has already committed to making an investment of INR 500 crores in the Union Territory.
The LG observed that the Mall would be ready for business by 2024.
Speaking on the industrial policy of the Union Territory, Sinha introduced it as better than all other states. '
He expressed satisfaction at the rate of progress on building infrastructure, thanks partly to an improved work culture and ease of doing business.
Noting the distinct improvement in the India-UAE relationship since 2015, which led greater business cooperation between the India and UAE, Sinha praised Aman Puri, the Indian Consul General in Dubai, for advocating the case of Jammu and Kashmir as a viable destination for investment.
He also recalled his earlier visit to Dubai and the visit in March, 2022, of a 36 member delegation from the UAE to Kashmir.
Earlier, in January, 2022, the government of Jammu and Kashmir signed MoUs with several UAE-based companies during the Expo 2020 in Dubai.
The UAE delegation in March 2022 attended a business summit and interacted with local businessmen at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar.
The delegation had met the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha and other top civil officials.
“We are upgrading our infrastructure both in capacity and quality to meet new demands and ready to raise our partnership with industries to higher levels,” the LG said.
He said that the direction of reforms which the government had been following during the last three years was the outcome of a long-term comprehensive strategy to offer a friendly climate for both domestic and foreign investments in J&K.
Emaar group is one of the largest construction companies in the UAE. The Mall project marked their formal entry into Jammu and Kashmir.
LG Manoj Sinha performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the Rs 500 crore project which promises to create over 10,000 jobs in the valley.
Amit Jain, the CEO of EMAAR group, and actors Vivek Oberoi and Neetu Chandra were among those dignitaries present at the ‘Bhumi Pujan’ and foundation laying ceremony.
LG Sinha requested the EMAAR group—the makers of Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa, to look at the possibility of completing the project ahead of the three-year deadline.
“If the Parliament complex can be completed within 1.5 years, we can certainly expect this to be completed earlier,” he said.
Amit Jain observed that these investments in Jammu and Kashmir would have a ripple effect. Every rupee invested has the potential to attract nine rupees of more investments.
This INR 500 crore investment should lead to the investment of INR 5,000 crore more.
He also noted that several other companies from the Arab Gulf States which were examining prospects of investing in other sectors. For example, The Dubai World may set up logistics centers and Emirates airlines are exploring opportunities.
Jain stressed on employing the local people for these projects, describing them as hardworking and lauding the legendary culture of hospitality in Kashmir.
With the exports of apples, saffron, walnuts, vegetables and dry fruits from Jammu and Kashmir to the Gulf picking up since the decline in the COVID-19 pandemic, there are talks about private sector investment from the UAE to set up a food processing and logistics hub in the union territory.
The LG said that the constructive discussion held on various sectors such as agriculture and allied sectors, hospitality, education, tourism and other industry sectors would lead to exploration of ground level investment opportunities, leading to a strengthening of India’s long-term partnership with UAE and other the Gulf countries.
Delegates from foreign as well as Indian companies at the investment summit displayed interest to launch projects related to residential schools, hotels, IT Park, Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) units, and hospitals.
It was also decided that a joint group would be constituted for speedy clearance of proposals and their faster execution.
The LG emphasized the digital transformation of J&K would enable and empower the industrial units.
The government has started two innovation and invention centers where well-qualified faculties and IT professionals train future knowledge workers who will be the main force of Industry 4.0 to provide the much needed human resources for the emerging market in the new UT of Jammu and Kashmir.