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India-Afghanistan cargo corridor inaugrated; first flight lands in Delhi

Major imports from Afghanistan to India are fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, raisins etc

ANI  |  New Delhi 

Workers load export materials into a Cargo plane in Kabul, Afghanistan. June 19, 2017. Photo: Reuters
Workers load export materials into a Cargo plane in Kabul, Afghanistan. June 19, 2017. Photo: Reuters

The first cargo flight of the Afghanistan-air freight corridor carrying goods to landed in on Monday night.

The cargo flight from to establishing first air freight corridor was received at on Monday by External Affairs Minister in the presence of Civil Aviation Minister Ganapati Raju, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar and the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of to Shaida Abdali.

The arrival of the cargo flight from to marked the inauguration of the dedicated Air Freight Corridor between the two countries.

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

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

"The connectivity established through the Air Freight Corridor will provide Afghanistan, a landlocked country, greater access to markets in India, and will allow businessmen to leverage India's economic growth and trade networks for its benefit. It would enable farmers quick and direct access to the Indian markets for their perishable produce," said Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary, (PAI-Pakistan, Afghanistan, India) in the Ministry of External Affairs in

"This flight has added another chapter to the connectivity that has existed since times immemorial. We hope to extend air cargo flights to other cities between and Afghanistan," said Gopal Bagley, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs.

The decision to establish an Air Freight Corridor between and was taken in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani in September 2016 during the President Ghani's visit to

"During his visit to in September 2016, President Ghani had urged Indian and businessmen to achieve a target of USD 10 billion in trade over the next five years," said Dr. Mittal.

"Keeping with President Ghani's vision, we have eased our visa regime for businesspersons. Also, we have increased the duration of stay for tourists and patients since February this year. Presently, there are four to five flights operating daily between and India, bringing nearly 1,000 Afghans, many of them for medical treatment in Indian hospitals," Mittal further said.

"has been closely working with to create alternate and reliable access routes for the landlocked country," Mittal added.

Earlier, in January 2015, had announced its decision to allow Trucks to enter the Indian Territory through Atari land check post for offloading and loading goods from and to is also cooperating with and Iran for development of the Chabahar Port.

Later on, in May 2016, 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.

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

"Currently major exports from to 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," said Shaida Abdali, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of to

"This is just the beginning.We are optimistic for further adding to the volume of trade between the two countries.We will be expanding to flights other provinces like Kandahar, Heart and Mazar-e- Sharif," Abdali added.

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

"remains committed to assisting in all possible ways in its political, security and economic transitions to ensure the emergence of a sovereign, united, democratic, pluralistic, stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan," said Bagley.

First Published: Mon, June 19 2017. 20:45 IST