The militant organization Taliban has ceased all import and export trade with India since it seized control of Afghanistan after taking over Kabul on Sunday, 15 August.
ANI reported, the Director-General of the Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO), Dr. Ajay Sahai, that the Taliban has stopped all imported from Afghanistan by halting the movement of cargo through the transit routes of Pakistan.
Although the land trade routes have been blocked through Pakistan’s land, the Dubai route is still functioning.
India’s bilateral ties with the conflicted land of Afghanistan have been built up over the last two decades, and the trade between the countries has been over $1.5 billion in 2019-20 alone. Additionally, India exported over $997.58 million worth of goods while importing about $530 million.
Over these years, India and Afghanistan created an air-freight corridor despite land obstruction by Islamabad. The corridor, connecting Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat with New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, ensured a smooth trade since its establishment in 2017. Almost 1,000 flights are transferring goods of value over $216 million since then.
“We keep a close watch on developments in Afghanistan. Imports from there come through the transit route of Pakistan. As of now, the Taliban has stopped the movement of cargo to Pakistan, so virtually imports have stopped,” FIEO DG told ANI.
“In fact, we are one of the largest partners of Afghanistan, and our exports to Afghanistan are worth around USD 835 million for 2021. We imported goods worth around USD 510 Million. But besides the trade, we have a sizeable investment in Afghanistan. We have invested around USD 3 billion in Afghanistan, and there are 400-odd projects in Afghanistan, some of which are currently going on,” DG said.
“…Some of the goods are exported from the international north-south transport corridor route which is fine now. Some of the goods go through the Dubai route also which is working,” Sahai added.
The DG also spoke on the history of smooth trade relations with the conflicted land as presently, India exports sugar, pharmaceuticals, apparel, tea, coffee, spices, and transmission towers.
“Imports are related and largely dependent on dry fruits. We also import a little gum and onions from them,” he said.
He was optimistic the trade relations with Afghanistan would remain unaffected even after the takeover.
“I am pretty sure over a period of time Afghanistan will also realize that economic development is the only way to move forward, and they will continue with that kind of trade.
I think the new regime will like to have political legitimacy, and for that, India’s role will become important for them also,” he told ANI.