India and Afghanistan are set to operationalize their first air-freight corridor in the coming days. The first flight will be operated by Ariana Afghan Airlines, which is the Afghanistan’s national carrier. The flight which will initially operate once or twice in a month will carry commodities to and from Delhi. Depending upon the supply needs, the frequency of the flight will be increased.
India-Afghanistan discussed the idea of commencing the air-freight corridor during the visit of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s visit last year.
The key elements of India’s Afghanistan policy include – friendly relations with afghan factions, tacit support for anti-Taliban forces, more focus on economic engagement than military engagement, humanitarian and development assistance etc.
This development has assumed significance at the backdrop of Pakistan’s denial to use its land for trade between India and Afghanistan. The air freight corridor will be used by the private sector in Afghanistan to increase its exports to the vast Indian market by air with minimum costs. It will also enable the traders to circumvent the obstacles posed by Pakistan in the land route.