India, Afghanistan open air freight route

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PM took to Twitter and said, "Happy to welcome the first Air Freight Corridor flight from Kabul".

An aircraft packed with 60 tonnes of Afghan plants with medicinal uses marked the opening of the first air cargo corridor between Afghanistan and India on Monday. The corridor which passes through the airspace of Pakistan was launched with a cargo aircraft flight flagged off by Afghanistan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani.

Modi said the direct (air freight) connectivity between India and Afghanistan will "usher prosperity".

The need for the corridor was felt by both countries since Pakistan refuses to permit India the transit facility through its territory to Afghanistan.

Adding a new dimension to bilateral ties, India and Afghanistan inaugurated a dedicated air freight corridor service on Monday.

"We hope to extend air cargo flights to other cities between India and Afghanistan, " the Ministry of External Affairs said here today. Afghan President's adviser Sediqullah Mujadedi said Afghan agricultural products will for the first time head to India on cargo planes.

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Modi and Ghani are looking at an ambitious target of US$10 billion (US$1=RM4.28) in annual trade in five years.

Presently, there are four to five flights operating daily between Afghanistan and India, bringing almost 1,000 Afghans, many of them for medical treatment in Indian hospitals.

He also said not only will this new import/export route increase the income of farmers and traders in Afghanistan but it will create more employment opportunities, decrease poverty and deepen Afghanistan-India relations.

India is also working with Afghanistan and Iran for development of the Chabahar Port.

Now major exports from India to Afghanistan are man-made filaments, apparels and clothing accessories, pharmaceutical products, cereals, man-made staple fibres, tobacco products, dairy and poultry products, coffee, tea, meat and spices. Major imports from Afghanistan to India are fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, raisins, vegetables, oil seeds, precious, semi-precious stones, etc.

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