Surajkund (Haryana), Feb 9 : Membership of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation or SAARC has helped Afghanistan to expand its trade boundaries at the Surajkund crafts fair, on the outskirts of New Delhi.
The SAARC member countries showcased their craftwork at the fair and Afghanistan's participation was noteworthy.
Surajkund fair was started in 1987 as a novel scheme to highlight Indian handicrafts, art and culture. Now it has become a mega-hit.
In recent years, the fair has expanded its scope by inviting craftsmen and promoters from the SAARC-member countries.
The endeavor to promote economic integration, free trade and cultural links has proved to be fruitful for war-ravaged Afghanistan.
The carpet traders of Afghanistan can now reach out to Indian clients. "Afghanistan has problems of exporting and importing. But, with the grace of God things will change soon. The Afghanistan Government is trying hard to cope with the situation. We are treated as guests by the Indian Government and we thank the Government and the people of India for that," Azeem Ahmad Azmil, a carpet trader from Afghanistan said.
Afghanistan's first appearance at Surajkund this year also gave a chance to Indian customers to buy carpets, silver jewellery, Lapis arts and paintings.
It is believed that the expansion of trade will help Afghanistan's craftsmen to get over the trauma and anxiety caused by the Taliban rule.
A trader of silver jewellery, gems and Lapis paintings in Kabul finds SAARC helpful in reaching out to a bigger market.
"Afghanistan jewellery includes Lapis Lazuli, Tourmaline and Ruby. The Gemstone sterling silver jewellery is completely handmade which makes it unique," Tahir Mokhtar, an exhibitor from Kabul said.
For the entire duration of the fair the Afghanistan stall attracted crowds and trade inquiries from Indian buyers and traders.
The Afghans, who lived in darkness and fear for many years can now see the colors of freedom. With the help of fairs like Surajkund they can make their dreams come true.