03 & 04 April 2022
Following the political transformation of Jammu and Kashmir, which both the houses of the Indian Parliament accepted in 2019, the Indian government has made continuous efforts to kickstart the economy in the region, now categorized as two Union Territories – Jammu, and Kashmir and Ladakh.
As a bilateral trade and investment promotion organization mandated to foster business ties between Canadian and Indian micro and small business owners, the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce (ICCC) supports efforts by the federal and provincial governments in Canada, and the union and state governments in India to forge linkages. These efforts are aimed at reviving economies that have been dormant and need an impetus to soar again.
In 2021, in collaboration with the Consulate General of India in Toronto, and the Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organization (JKTPO), the ICCC took lead in promoting Kashmiri niche products in Canada by organizing two virtual buyer-seller meetings.
“The Jammu visit will become a highlight of the 2022 India Mission. Our delegation was accorded full protocol by the local administration, and the reception from the local businesspeople and the organizations was beyond our expectations."
"It is clear that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want to move ahead swiftly and bring in economic prosperity to the people of the region.”
- Ripudaman Singh Dhillon, President, ICCC
The first buyer-seller meeting held in February 2021 had Kashmiri micro and small business owners from the handicrafts and handlooms sector connecting with potential buyers from Ontario. In the second buyer-seller meeting held in September 2021, Kashmiri micro and small business owners from the leather and agro-products connecting with Canadian buyers.
Both these buyer-seller meetings received overwhelming response both the Jammu and Kashmir and Canada.
When the ICCC’s India Mission 2022 was planned, Jammu was chosen as one of the cities on the itinerary because the Chamber’s leadership felt it was important, in fact, imperative that Jammu was one of the cities on the mission’s itinerary.
While on the mission, the Chamber’s leadership decided to that it was also important to visit Srinagar and the Kashmir valley only to let the world know that the entire region – Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh – is open for business.
The spectre of political and economic uncertainties that had enveloped the region for a prolonged period is rapidly becoming outdated, as both the union government in India, and the administration in the union territories work in unison and with a purpose to usher in economic stability and growth.
Jammu & Kashmir Trade Promotion Organization officials with ICCC India Mission 2022 delegation
On 3 April, the ICCC’s India Mission 2022 delegates reached Srinagar. The purpose was to let the world know that Kashmir is as normal as any other region of India. On 4 April, the mission delegates reached Jammu to a visit that was marked with official interaction with senior officials of the administration, and with businesspeople of the city and the region.
The highlight of the visit was an interactive session that the Jammu and Kashmir Trade Promotion Organization (JKTPO) organized with the local Jammu-based micro and small business owners with the mission delegates. More than 40 local businessowners participated in the program.
Ankita Kar, the Managing Director of JKTPO, made a presentation, seeking collaboration with the ICCC’s mission delegates in sectors such as tourism and hospitality, skills development, infrastructure, and agro-foods. Ripudaman Singh Dhillon, President, ICCC, in his presentation, offered collaboration and joint ventures with local entrepreneurs in these spheres.
The purpose of workshop was to promote investment and exports along with facilitating business linkages. Various Industry representatives & entrepreneurs from JK participated. Ranjan Prakash Thakur, Principal Secretary, Industries and Commerce, J&K, delivered the keynote address.
Responding to the session with the JKTPO, Mr. Dhillon said, “The Jammu visit will become a highlight of the 2022 India Mission. Our delegation was accorded full protocol by the local administration, and the reception from the local businesspeople and the organizations was beyond our expectations. It is clear that the people of Jammu and Kashmir want to move ahead swiftly and bring in economic prosperity to the people of the region.”
He added that as a Chamber, we will be working with the different organizations in the near future to ensure that Indo-Canadian entrepreneurs will play a positive role in the economic rejuvenation of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Jammu stopover also included a meeting with the representatives of the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PHDCCI). Rahul Sahai of the PHD Chamber briefed the ICCC delegation about robust industrial development scheme in J&K, discussed core areas of investment opportunities in J&K and Canada, discussed some regional focus areas of handicrafts, IT, Agriculture, Medicinal plants, Tourism opportunities.
Prior to these business meetings, the ICCC delegates met Rajeev Bhatnagar, Advisor to His Excellency Hon. Manoj Sinha, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. During the brief but meaningful interaction, Mr. Bhatnagar welcomed the initiative undertaken by the ICCC to make a trip to Jammu, and hoped that it would become an annual stopover for the future India Missions of the Chamber.
Thereafter, the mission delegation had another brief but significant interaction with Dilbag Singh, IPS, the Director General of Police of Jammu and Kashmir. During this interaction, the DGP urged the mission delegates to promote education as a sector and bring Canadian educational institutions to Jammu and Kashmir so that the local youth can avail of opportunities for higher education in the region, without having to go outside.
In the final leg of the visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the delegation visited the Government Industrial Training Institute (ITI) at Kathua. Established in 1981 by the Technical Education Department, Government of Jammu and Kashmir under the overall aegis of Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India New Delhi, the ITI-Kathua provides skills development and training to local youth in spheres that are amenable to immediate employment.
The delegation met students of Centre of Excellency in Kathua, Jammu. A project with the vision to create skilled professionals with hands-on training at ITI, Kathua funded by Ashok Leyland. This project is the vision of His Excellency Hon. Manoj Sinha, Governor of JK.
S. K. Chadda, Member of ICCC’s Strategies Group, had arranged for the meetings with Rajiv Bhatnagar, Dilbag Singh and the visit to ITI-Kathua. Mr. Dhillon thanked him for his continued support to the mission. He said, “I want to extend a warm thanks to Mr. Chadha on behalf of delegation and ICCC for making our visits to Jammu and Kashmir a grand success. The hospitality at all levels is unforgettable.”
After a momentous two-day whirlwind tour of Jammu and Kashmir, the mission delegates reached Punjab.