by Umar Moiz 27 March 2023
The recent news of UAE’s investment in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir has raised concerns in the international community. On 19th March 2023, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, laid the foundation stone for a Rs 250 crore Mall of Srinagar project by Dubai’s Emaar Group at Sempora. This move by the UAE has raised questions regarding the legality of such investments in the disputed region.
India’s illegal annexation of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 has been a cause for concern in the international community. The region has been under military lockdown since then, and the Indian government has been accused of human rights violations in the region. The UN has declared Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed region, and any investment in the region by foreign entities could have severe diplomatic implications.
The UAE’s investment in the region is seen as a move to strengthen ties with India. However, this move has not gone down well with Pakistan, which has been fighting for the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s foreign office has raised concerns over the UAE’s investment, stating that it goes against the UN resolutions on the issue.
Furthermore, the joint venture between India and the UAE is expected to become a source of diplomatic frictions as it involves a UN-declared disputed region. The investment in Jammu and Kashmir will be seen as a violation of international law and could lead to regional differences between India and Pakistan. It is essential for the UAE to consider the implications of its investment in the region and ensure that it does not become a cause for further tensions.
India has been making attempts to project a sense of normalcy in the region by holding events such as the G20 Summit and opening up a mega mall in IIOJK. However, these attempts to create a facade of normalcy do not change the fact that the region is under military lockdown, and the people of Jammu and Kashmir are facing human rights violations.
UAE’s investment in Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of concern for the international community. The region is under dispute, and any investment in the region could have severe diplomatic implications. The UAE must take into account the concerns of Pakistan and the UN while investing in the region. It is crucial for India to address the concerns of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and work towards finding a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Only then can the region truly experience a sense of normalcy.
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The Mall of Srinagar project is a significant investment, with an estimated cost of Rs 250 crore (approximately $34 million USD). The mall will be spread over an area of 3.5 acres in Sempora, a suburb of Srinagar, and will feature a mix of retail, entertainment, and dining options. It is expected to create around 1,000 jobs in the region.
The development of the Mall of Srinagar by Emaar Group is just one of several major investments by UAE companies in the region. Other notable investments include a $10 billion deal signed between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Indian oil companies to set up a strategic petroleum reserve in the region, and a $3 billion investment by Abu Dhabi-based sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala, in the Indian telecom sector.
The UAE’s interest in investing in Jammu and Kashmir is not surprising, given the region’s strategic location and potential for economic growth. Jammu and Kashmir is situated at the crossroads of South Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, making it a key transit point for trade and commerce. The region is also home to a diverse range of natural resources, including minerals, timber, and water, which present opportunities for investment in various sectors.
The development of the Mall of Srinagar is not expected to have a positive impact on the local economy. The project claims to create jobs, boost tourism, and provide new opportunities for local businesses but as far as Indian draconian curfew remains in place, no economic progress is possible.
In recent years, UAE has conducted a very shrewd diplomacy. It was attempted to become a credible mediator in international conflicts. Going by this reputation, UAE should try to mediate between India and Pakistan.