India and Afghanistan launch 2nd air cargo route linking Kabul with Mumbai
The second India-Afghanistan air cargo route linking Kabul to Mumbai was officially inaugurated at Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul. It is expected to boost export of fresh fruits and medicinal plants from Afghanistan.
The launch of second route follows the success of the first air corridor between both countries linking Kabul-New Delhi that was inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani in June 2017.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had decided on opening direct air corridor in 2016. The purpose of the air connectivity established through air freight corridor is to provide landlocked Afghanistan greater access to markets in India and also allow businessmen from Afghanistan to leverage India’s economic growth and trade networks for its benefit. Since June 2017, after the launch of first corridor, Afghanistan has exported various cargo including medical herbs fruits. So far, it has exported 1,640 tons fresh and dried fruits, carpets and medical herbs worth more than $20 million in 56 flights to India.
This development has assumed significance at backdrop of Pakistan’s denial to use its land for trade between India and Afghanistan. The air freight corridor will be used by private sector in Afghanistan to increase its exports to 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.