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India and Afghanistan establish Direct Air Freight Corridor

June 19, 2017

The first flight from Kabul to Delhi establishing air freight corridor was received on 19 June 2017 by the External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj in the presence of Civil Aviation Minister Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Minister of State for External Affairs Shri M.J. Akbar and the Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to India H.E. Dr. Shaida Abdali.

The flight, which carried 60 tonnes of cargo (mainly ‘hing’) from Afghanistan, was flagged off in Kabul by President of Afghanistan H.E. Mr. Ashraf Ghani in the presence of several Afghan Cabinet Ministers and India's Ambassador to Afghanistan Shri Manpreet Vohra.

A similar cargo flight from Delhi to Kabul had earlier carried 100 tonnes of cargo (mainly pharmaceuticals, water purifiers, medical equipments) on June 18, 2017 from Delhi to Kabul.

The arrival of the cargo flight from Kabul to Delhi marked the inauguration of the dedicated Air Freight Corridor. The decision to establish an Air Freight Corridor between Afghanistan and India was taken in the meeting between Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and President Ghani in September 2016 during the President's visit to India.

The connectivity established through the Air Freight Corridor will provide Afghanistan, a landlocked country, greater access to markets in India, and will allow Afghan businessmen to leverage India’s economic growth and trade networks for its benefit. It would enable Afghan farmers quick and direct access to the Indian markets for their perishable produce.

During his visit to India in September 2016, President Ghani had urged Indian and Afghan businesses to achieve a target of USD 10 billion in trade over the next five years. Keeping with this vision, we have eased our visa regime for Afghan businesspersons. Also, we have increased the duration of stay for Afghan tourists and patients since February this year. Presently, there are four to five flights operating daily between Afghanistan and India, bringing nearly 1,000 Afghans, many of them for medical treatment in Indian hospitals.

India has been closely working with Afghanistan to create alternate and reliable access routes for the landlocked country. In this context, in January 2015, India had announced its decision to allow Afghan Trucks to enter the Indian territory through Attari land Checkpost for offloading and loading goods from and to Afghanistan. India is also cooperating with Afghanistan and Iran for development of the Chahbahar Port. In this context, a trilateral transport and transit agreement based on sea access through Chabahar was signed in the presence of the leaders of the three countries in Tehran in May 2016.

We hope to extend air cargo flights to other cities between India and Afghanistan.

These routes and corridors are aimed at providing sea, land and air access route for Afghanistan to regional and global markets in South Asia and beyond.

Currently major exports from India to Afghanistan are 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.

Major imports from Afghanistan to India are fresh fruits, dried fruits/ nuts, raisins, vegetables, oil seeds, precious/ semi-precious stones, etc.

India remains committed to assist Afghanistan in all possible ways in its political, security and economic transitions to ensure emergence of a sovereign, united, democratic, pluralistic, stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan.

New Delhi
June 19, 2017

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