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India and Afghanistan Boost Trade with Direct Air Freight Corridor

An aircraft packed with 60 tons of asafoetida, or hing, marked the opening of the first air cargo corridor between Afghanistan and India today.The dedicated air corridor was planned during the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ghani in Kabul in September 2016. In a tweet, he said, the direct connectivity between India and Afghanistan will usher prosperity. The corridor will also provide Afghan farmers quick and direct access to Indian markets for their perishable produce. Pakistan allows Afghanistan to send a limited amount of goods overland through Pakistan into India, but does not allow any imports from India along this route.The air cargo corridor was a key project agreed on by Afghanistan and India at last year’s Heart of Asia conference.Inaugurating the freight corridor in Kabul, the Afghan President, in a veiled reference to Pakistan, said, “Those who create crisis for us must learn that we change the challenge to opportunity”.”During his visit to India in September 2016, President Ghani had urged Indian and Afghan businessmen to achieve a target of Dollars 10 billion in trade over the next five years”, said Dr. Mittal. “Presently, there are four to five flights operating daily between Afghanistan and India, bringing almost 1,000 Afghans, many of them for medical treatment in Indian hospitals”, Mittal further said.Sushma Swaraj made India and Afghan ties grow more stronger with some cargo shipping India bypassing Pakistan. “Afghan traders will also take part in establishing the business center and it will resolve the existing problems”, said Khan Jan Alokozay, ACCI’s deputy head.India is also working with Afghanistan and Iran for development of the Chabahar Port.Man-made filaments, articles of apparels and clothing accessories, pharmaceutical products, cereals, man-made staple fibres, tobacco products, dairy and poultry products, coffee, tea, meat and spices are among the items India now exports to Afghanistan. A second flight is scheduled to depart from Kandahar, Afghanistan to India next week carrying 40 tons of dried fruit.