Afghanistan and India boost trade ties

Airport workers load the first cargo plane after the inauguration ceremony of the air corridor.

TMP – 01/08/2017

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently inaugurated the first air cargo corridor with India, which aims to boost trade between the two countries. An aircraft packed with 60 tons of Afghan medicinal plants, worth about US$5 million dollars and bound for New Delhi, marked the opening of the corridor.

As the second largest destination country for Afghan exports, India remains an important trading partner. The flight was the first in what officials hope will be many more, allowing Afghan and Indian companies to ship goods by air.

“Our aim is to change Afghanistan to an exporter country,” Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said at a ceremony marking the inaugural flight.” As long as we are not an exporter country, then poverty and instability will not be eliminated,” he added.

Indian officials said they hope the new air corridor will boost annual trade between the two countries from US$700 million to US$1 billion in three years.

“The cargo service aims to improve landlocked Afghanistan’s links to markets abroad and boost the growth prospects of its agricultural industries,” Indian officials said.

“We will continue to assist you in various ways as this corridor expands and grows into a network of cargo flights as per demand of the market,” India’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Manpreet Vohra, told President Ghani during the inauguration ceremony.