Srinagar, Oct 5, 2012: Rahul Gandhi today kept his promise made to the students of Kashmir during his visit earlier, that he would bring India Inc to the Valley. As he addressed more than 700 students in a packed Kashmir University auditorium, sharing the stage with him was a power-packed panel of India’s top industrial and corporate leaders, incuding Ratan Tata and Kumarmangalam Birla.
Outside the auditorium a small group of students protested against Mr Gandhi’s visit, asking him go back and keep politics out of the campus.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Tata said, "It has been a real step forward to have a conversation with the great wealth of human capital that exists here. What Mr Gandhi has done is not open a window, but open a door."
After today’s meeting the students, Mr Gandhi said, "The students had said they wanted to speak to the captains of industry and I had promised them this. I think we have some of the brightest children in the room behind us. They were very happy to talk to the business leaders. My aim is to develop trust with the youth of Kashmir." Yesterday, addressing a large gathering of people, Mr Gandhi said that it was his desire to forge a relationship with the people of Kashmir, to understand their pain and suffering and help mitigate the problems of the region. "I want to reiterate that my family also comes from Kashmir and I am also a Kashmiri. As Dr. Farooq Abdullah has said, his father and my grandfather joined hands for Kashmir. I am here to join hands with Omar Abdullah and the people of Kashmir," Mr Gandhi said.
On a previous visit, Mr Gandhi had promised students that he would bring industry leaders to Jammu and Kashmir after they complained to him about lack of jobs and investments in the state.
Earlier in the day, Mr Tata met the Chief Minister at a breakfast meeting and they explored the possibility of cooperation in information technology, hospitality, agro-product and horticulture sector, officials said.
The 74-year-old industrialist recalled his fond memories of visits to Kashmir Valley with his grandfather and stay at a house boat in Nigeen lake to which the CM extended an invitation to him to relive his childhood memories.