Modi Hails Economic Transformation in Kashmir on First Visit Since Article 370 Revocation

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 2:37 pm

In a significant visit to Indian-administered Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the region has undergone an economic transformation since the revocation of Article 370, marking his first trip since the controversial change in 2019. Amid tight security, Modi addressed a rally in Srinagar, emphasizing the positive impact on the region’s development and expressing his commitment to winning the hearts of the people.

Speaking before the audience at Srinagar’s Bakshi stadium, Modi stated, “Jammu and Kashmir is touching new heights of development because it is breathing freely now. This freedom has come after the removal of Article 370, which had been a barrier.” He highlighted the surge in tourism and economic growth, asserting that thousands are now touring the region.

To support the economic development further, Modi announced projects worth 64 billion rupees ($774 million) focused on aiding local agriculture and tourism. The move is part of the government’s larger plan to integrate Kashmir’s economy with the rest of India.

While Modi’s decision to impose direct federal rule in 2019 sparked controversy and anger among Kashmiris, the visit signals the government’s message that the territory is returning to normalcy. Despite incidents of violence and high unemployment levels, the government aims to portray a new era of peace and development.

Critics argue that the region has faced a crackdown on civil liberties and press freedom since 2019. However, Modi’s government is keen to highlight the positive aspects of its projects, emphasizing the benefits of integrating Kashmir’s economy with the rest of the country.

Modi’s visit is seen as setting the tone for the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) campaign in the region ahead of the upcoming general elections. The move aligns with the government’s push to showcase the economic progress and peace initiatives in Kashmir, signaling a departure from the unrest associated with the revocation of Article 370.

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