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Modi Touts Economic Transformation in Indian-Administered Kashmir Amidst Tight Security

March 7, 2024 1:10 pm

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the economic progress in Indian-administered Kashmir during his first visit to the region since the controversial revocation of its semi-autonomous status in 2019. Speaking at a rally in Srinagar amidst tight security, Modi highlighted the economic transformation and development initiatives undertaken in the region.

Addressing thousands of attendees at Srinagar’s Bakshi stadium, Modi emphasized the surge in tourism and development projects in Kashmir, attributing it to the removal of Article 370. He announced projects worth 64 billion rupees ($774 million) to support local agriculture and tourism, reflecting the government’s efforts to integrate Kashmir’s economy with the rest of India.

Modi’s decision to impose direct federal rule in Kashmir stirred widespread controversy, leading to heightened tensions in the region. However, he asserted that the revocation of Article 370 has facilitated new opportunities for development and progress in Kashmir.

Despite Modi’s optimistic portrayal of economic growth, critics have raised concerns about civil liberties and press freedom in the region since 2019. Many Kashmiris allege a crackdown on dissent and a lack of tangible benefits from the government’s development projects.

The visit comes amidst preparations for the upcoming general elections, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aiming to bolster its campaign in the region. However, opinions among locals regarding Modi’s visit remain divided, with some critical of the government’s actions while others adopt a wait-and-see approach.

Modi’s visit to Kashmir is part of a series of events across the country ahead of the general elections, highlighting the government’s focus on development and infrastructure projects as key priorities in its agenda. Despite the controversy surrounding his visit, the government aims to showcase its commitment to economic growth and stability in the region.

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