Press TV / December 27, 2017
Afghan and Indian authorities have attended a ceremony to inaugurate an air route between the two cities of Kabul and Mumbai amid efforts widen to boost trade between the two neighboring countries.
The Kabul-Mumbai corridor was officially launched Wednesday at the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul.
The project follows the successful implementation of a similar route between Kabul and the Indian capital New Delhi.
The routes are mainly aimed at facilitating the trade of fresh agricultural products from Afghanistan to India. Afghan officials said some $20 million worth of such products and other handicrafts had been exported to India since the launch of the Kabul-New Delhi corridor by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in June.
For its part, India has exempted exported products from taxes while also facilitating the presence of Afghan traders in Indian markets.
“India also promised to hold (an) exhibition for Afghan traders in Mumbai city and they also want to create business chambers,” said Sarwar Danish, a senior official from Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
The establishment of the corridors comes against the backdrop of a rivalry between India and Pakistan for having more leverage on Afghanistan. Kabul has become more vocal in its criticism of Islamabad over the past years, saying elements in Pakistan’s army intelligence service have been reluctant to help eradicate militancy in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s efforts to rebuild the country following decades of war and militancy have largely failed as it struggles to contain an insurgency by the Taliban and other militant groups some 16 years after the United States and allies launched an invasion to root out terrorism.