India-Afghanistan air corridor will boost bilateral trade: Minister
New Delhi, (IANS) Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Wednesday said the opening of an air corridor between India and Afghanistan can help bilateral trade reach an optimum level.
“There are untapped areas of business between India and Afghanistan. The optimum potential of bilateral trade has not been reached because of the lack of viable land connectivity,” he said at the inauguration of ‘India Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show’, which would be held from September 27-30.
Over 800 businesses from India and Afghanistan are participating in the event.
In June, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had inaugurated the first Afghanistan-India air corridor, a direct route that bypasses Pakistan, to improve commerce.
“We have set up inter-ministerial groups to expedite (ferrying of) cargo through this corridor,” Raju said.
The Minister said that more cities in India would be added to the air corridor route.
“We remain committed to the economic strengthening of Afghanistan. We have bilateral opportunities in skill development, aviation, setting up cold storage, and sharing of technical expertise,” he added.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that that there was no better connect between two countries than transport and with air route now available between India and Afghanistan, businesses needed to explore opportunities for investment into untapped areas.
“The businesses of the two countries need to explore potential of investment. They need to unleash the energy into unexplored businesses,” he said.
“This is a good opportunity for expansion of trade between the two countries. I am sure India will be a great market for Afghanistan businesses and vice versa,” he said.