The first-ever Afghan-India air corridor flight began Monday in the presence of President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Ambassador to Kabul, Manpreet Vohra, from Kabul to New Delhi, carrying 60 tons of goods.
“Our aim is to change Afghanistan to an exporting nation,” President Ghani said. “Private sector, government and experts need to work together to exploit the opportunity and prevent the spoilage of Afghan products.”
The President emphasised the importance of exporting agricultural produce. “More money in our farmers' pockets will help solve most of the security issues,” he added.
Linking Afghanistan to the regional and international markets brings in great job opportunities and much-needed revenue for producers and manufacturers.
“We announce to our friends and our foes that we are changing the challenges to opportunities,” the President said in his speech at the ceremony.
Indian Ambassador to Kabul, Manpreet Vohra voiced his pleasure over the new air corridor and said that New Delhi is committed to assisting Afghanistan progress any way possible. “We are expecting to expand and grow the network of cargo flights to meet the demand of the markets,” the Ambassador said.
According to Sediqullah Mujadidi, the director of the Afghan-India Air Corridor, cargo air freight cost 20 cents per each kilogramme now. “This business initiative between the two countries offers massive savings to our exporters—the cost in the past was 65-75 cents,” Mr. Mujadidi added.
The second flight will depart from Kandahar to New Delhi next week, and more flights are planned from Mazar e Sharif in the coming weeks.
Mr. Mujadidi said that currently, commercial trade between Afghanistan and India is worth $500 million, but it will increase significantly in the future.