The G-20 Summit: India’s New Normalcy Stamp for JK’s Economy

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The G-20 summit will be held in India this year. Over 200 meetings will be conducted across the whole dominion. The hue and cry is that several meetings will be held in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The story does not start here, let us unravel the hidden objectives and present a retrospective analysis.

1- BJP manifesto consisted of the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A in IIOJK. As Modi came into power, the BJP-led Govt ensured the legal onslaught on the state on 5th August 2019. The takeaway as per the government was supposed to be development, prosperity, investment and jobs. This is where India started building the facade.

2- The first of its kind, a delegation visited the JK in October 2019 consisting of European representatives. A similar “arranged” tour was made by 15 countries of EU in January 2021 and lastly a tour of 24 countries was “managed” in February 2021. These visits were “facilitated” in a way that the schools in the tour vicinity were kept open, roads were free of protestors in an attempt to depict normalcy in the occupied land. However, when the deliberations were exposed, the delegation members commented that they were there just as tourists. A few, however, spoke the truth that Kashmir is beautiful but not conducive for foreign investment.

The Indian targets were two-pronged. They wanted an international stamp on “normalcy and prosperity” in JK. Secondly, in March 2021, the EU parliament was all set to talk on six resolutions related to JK and the controversial CAA, which would have dented Indian designs.

3- The next stage after normalcy projection was to portray influx of foreign directed investment in IIOJK. Large foreign direct investments (FDI) seem to be fighting shy of India’s highly price-sensitive economy. The complexities of an uncertain and volatile regulatory landscape continue to be an issue. Potentially, India could become a factory to the world. However, the government is not doing enough with regards to the ease of doing business. Land acquisition with clear titles to build large manufacturing ventures continues to pose a problem. The costs of energy and transportation are high. In many states, contractors need to deal with local political mafias. Therefore, the best setting for any investment where India could grab land was Jammu and Kashmir.

The Indian design started off with the amendment in land bills. As per the policy document, the land allotment process will be regulated by the J&K Industrial Land Allotment Policy, 2021-30, whilst, such units will also be eligible for benefits, incentives and support under the Jammu and Kashmir Industrial Policy 2021-30 and new central sector scheme for the industrial development of Jammu and Kashmir.

4- With this came the drama of how BJP has saved JK from disaster by attracting foreign investors. As per the Lt. Governor of JK, some 15000 crore had been invested in JK since 1947 while just in 2021, a figure of 38000-50000 crore has been put up by the state authorities. The milieu was set by different staged international tours. In March 2022, a 36 member delegation of Gulf business tycoons visited Jammu Kashmir led by Bal Krishen, a Kashmiri pandit, who had already signed a 100 million dollar investment in JK two months ago. The other members of the group were indian based Kamal Puri, Chairman of Skyline International Group Ltd, Manohar Mohanlal Lahori, Chairman and CEO of the Palmon Group, and Tauseef Chaman, a leading real estate and property developer in the UAE.

It is worth mentioning that in 2019, five Indian expats from the UAE made it to the Forbes billionaires list with a combined worth of $15 billion. Yusuf Ali topped this list with assets of $4.7 billion, followed by Micky Jagtiani, Sunny Varkey, PNC Menon, and BR Shetty of NMC Healthcare, who own two floors in Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest skyscraper. The irony was that these companies were provided the opportunity to coordinate with BJP-led companies such as BST Organics Pvt Ltd, Pashmkaar, Sarveshwar Group, Sky Robo Drones Pvt Ltd, ESPA Learn Pvt Ltd, Fastbeetle, Orchardly, JKTDC, Reem Automotives, Peaks Group of Companies.

These personnels were taken to Gulmarg and Pahalgam where they met local collaborators at a hotel. The second tour of such a kind was done in April by UAE based 12 businessmen accompanied by Ahmad Albanna, the ambassador of UAE to India. These tours had come in line with the OIC conference that was held in March 2022 in Islamabad, counteracting the notion of “Muslim brotherhood”. With the revelation that multimillionaire companies will be investing in JK, another step of Indian design was taken.

5- Indian settler-colonialism not only relies on physical presence of its fully armed Army in JK but also occupation of lands and buildings. The Indian occupational force in JK is said to be about more than 9 hundred thousand spread wide across the urban land. The anti-encroachment drive in JK was started where houses of Kashmiris were demolished and brought to rubbles. Likewise, Magna Waves Pvt. Ltd has expressed interest in creating a mall and an inland port in Kashmir, alongside Emaar Group and Lulu International. These constructions will not be carried out on uninhabited land rather local Kashmiri muslim population is constantly being driven out to make way for settler colonialism.

6- In this setting comes the G-20 summit which will be held in India this year. Indian machinations have been heinous and subtle. India has played well in diplomatic as well as local arena to gain more control in JK.

With the facade revealed above, if the summit is held in the tourist-friendly resorts of Kashmir, the narrative of a disputed legacy will be diluted. The atmosphere of fear is so high in Jammu and Kashmir that it has led to a more than 42% PTSD and 10% major depressive disorder. The drug addiction menace involves more than 6 hundred thousand Kashmiris while unemployment rate has shot to 21%.

Under these circumstances, India wishes to use Kashmiri land and beauty to boost its own economy while depriving Kashmiris of even the right to live. The collaborators will be rewarded while the common Kashmiri will continue to be oppressed.