Modi announces projects worth $4bn in pre-election visit to Jammu and Kashmir region

His trip took place in the run-up to the national ballot, expected in April and May

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Jammu and Kashmir on February 20, where he will launch $4 billion of works, including the region's first electric trains. EPA
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Drones and paragliders were banned and security forces put on high alert on Tuesday in India's Jammu and Kashmir region for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit.

Mr Modi announced projects worth about $4 billion in the region during his visit. He also praised the abolition of Article 370, saying the autonomous status it accorded Jammu and Kashmir had been the region's biggest hurdle to development.

His visit took place in the run-up to national elections, expected in April and May.

Mr Modi, who last week visited the UAE and other Gulf nations, said he witnessed a “lot of positivity” there for investments in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is a lot of excitement in the world with regard to the development in Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr Modi told a rally at the Maulana Azad cricket stadium in Jammu city, the region's winter capital.

“I recently returned from the tour of Gulf countries. There, I found lot of positivity about making investment in Jammu and Kashmir. When the world sees the holding of G20 event in Kashmir, it resonates far and beyond.”

On Tuesday, he was scheduled to open campuses of the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Management, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences Jammu and a new terminal building at Jammu airport, his office said.

Also on his agenda are laying the foundations of projects in sectors including health, education, rail, road, aviation, petroleum and civic infrastructure.

During Mr Modi's second term in office, he abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, which allowed the region to write its own laws and prohibit outsiders from buying land or apply for jobs there.

The cancellation of Kashmir's autonomy was an election promise of Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr Modi praised the government’s decision to abrogate Kashmir’s special status, which was guaranteed under Indian constitution’s Article 370, terming it as the “biggest barrier” in the region’s development.

“We removed that barrier … now Jammu and Kashmir is moving towards holistic development,” he said.

Mr Modi urged people to help his party to a majority in the national election.

“It is Modi’s guarantee that no one will be left behind from availing benefits of government schemes,” he said.

His itinerary for Tuesday also includes confirming the appointment of about 1,500 government recruits and meeting beneficiaries of state programmes.

Updated: February 20, 2024, 5:16 PM