UAE delegation explores business opportunities in Jammu & Kashmir

Union Territory anticipating investment worth Dh 33.75 billion within the next six months



Delegates at Gulf Investment Summit, held at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre. Supplied photo
Delegates at Gulf Investment Summit, held at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre. Supplied photo
by

Mazhar Farooqui

Published: Tue 22 Mar 2022, 6:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 22 Mar 2022, 8:56 PM

In 1993, an Indian man from Jammu & Kashmir’s Doda region arrived in the UAE looking for a job, and soon began working as a helper at a local hotel in Dubai’s Deira neighbourhood.

Now, that man is the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Century Financial Consultancy, and he’s leading a mega delegation of UAE business owners to his homeland.

On Tuesday, the delegation, which included several Emirati and Indian business owners, met Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha in Srinagar to explore investment opportunities in the region.

Addressing the delegates at the Gulf Investment Summit at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre, Sinha urged them to make “sizable investments” in the Union Territory.

“India shares a long history of friendship with the UAE. A vibrant partnership with Jammu & Kashmir will not only diversify the region’s export basket but also create a conducive atmosphere for trade and economic growth,” said Sinha.

He also assured the delegates of full cooperation from the Jammu & Kashmir government.

Sinha, who also hosted a dinner for the delegation on Monday, said Jammu and Kashmir was anticipating investment worth Rs70,000 crore (Dh 33.75 billion) within the next six months.

“We promise to provide global standard end-to-end facilities for the businesses, skilled workforce, transparent and hassle-free regulatory mechanism and creation of necessary infrastructure wherever required,” he tweeted.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha (left) and Bal Krishen, Chiramn and CEO, Century Financial Consultancy. Supplied photo
Lt Governor Manoj Sinha (left) and Bal Krishen, Chiramn and CEO, Century Financial Consultancy. Supplied photo

Bal Krishen, Chairman & CEO, Century Financial Consultancy, who organised the trip, termed the visit of UAE delegates as a historic occasion and a huge milestone in his life.

“This is a homecoming for me. My father was a schoolteacher. I come from a humble background,” said Bal Krishen, who recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jammu & Kashmir government to invest $100 (Dh367) million in the newly formed Union Territory.

Praising the UAE’s visionary leadership for his meteoric rise in the UAE, Bal Krishen said Jammu & Kashmir had immense business potential waiting to be tapped.

Ranjan Thakur, Principal Secretary, Industries, and Commerce Department, Jammu & Kashmir, said the region ticked all the right boxes for investors because of cheap electricity and skilled manpower, among other things.

Earlier, the delegates heard pitches from exporters, startups, and women entrepreneurs.

The four-day visit of the UAE business delegation comes close on the heels of Lt Governor Sinha’s visit to Expo2020 Dubai in January when the Jammu and Kashmir government signed several memorandum of understandings (MoUs) with UAE-based Al Maya Group, MATU Investments LLC, GL Employment Brokerage LLC, and Noon.

Retail major LuLu has said it will set up a food processing and logistic hub in Srinagar while real estate giant Emaar has announced 500,000 square feet in the city. Earlier, DP World signed an MoU to build an inland port in Jammu and Kashmir.

On February 18, the UAE and India signed a free trade agreement that cuts duties on almost 90 per cent of goods traded between them, including metals, minerals, petrochemicals, and petroleum.


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