“Relations between India and Afghanistan are exceptional”
Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister H.E. Mr Salahuddin Rabbani mentioned at the UNSC meet that “terrorism affecting Afghanistan is a result of Pakistan’s policy.” As someone who has dealt with security issues closely in the past, what are your views?
State sponsorship of terrorism has become an old fact which aims at keeping Afghanistan unstable; however the new US administration policy is coming up with new hopes and we expect our neighbors for a sincere fight against terrorism.
What is the extent of bilateral trade between the two nations at present, and how can it be further enhanced?
Bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan has further moved a step ahead with recent developments and interactions exchanged and India being prudent in setting economic landscape is of great significance. Indo-Afghan economic relation will expectedly make a giant stride with the progress happened on the recent visit of Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani and Afghan Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Raabani in New Delhi this year. The visit has outlined India’s pivotal role in bringing economic stability and has been spelt out as an important partner for rebuilding Afghanistan which is struggling with decades of war. The bilateral Strategic Partnership Agreement -2011 was reviewed and agreed upon to work on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. The establishment of the Air Cargo Corridor between Kabul and Kandahar to New Delhi in June 2017 has set a positive note as it will give fillip to trade between both the countries and more importantly Afghanistan will have access to reach global markets across South Asia and beyond. Till October around 981 tons of fresh fruits have been exported to India through air freight corridor. Afghanistan is expected to expand air cargo services to other cities in India. India’s116 small New Development projects in 31 provinces in Afghanistan will add constructive and compressive dimension in the areas of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure, administrative infrastructure. Afghanistan’s another breakthrough to access regional and global trade routes will be the Chabahar Port. India’s recent aid of 1.1 million tons of wheat shipment to Afghanistan through Chabahar Port has set lot of hope to usher prosperity in the land locked country.
Taking into consideration the present rising curve of development in enhancing bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan will be exponential. Regional connectivity and cooperation will play a significant role in taking Afghanistan’s trade relations to trajectory level not only within India but across the region. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) must endorse the aim and create opportunities for development in South Asian Region and beyond, furthermore, need to take positive initiative in filing the gaps and vacuum in order to achieve aspirations and potential of the region as South Asia is the fast developing economy.