The first cargo flight of the Afghanistan-India air freight corridor carrying Afghan goods to India landed in New Delhi on Monday night and was received by External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj.
The flight which carried 60 tonnes of cargo from Afghanistan, was flagged off in Kabul by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani in the presence of several Afghan Cabinet Ministers and India's Ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra.
ANI reported that the connectivity established through the Air Freight Corridor will provide Afghanistan, a landlocked country, greater access to markets in India, and will allow Afghan businessmen to leverage India's economic growth and trade networks for its benefit. It would enable Afghan farmers quick and direct access to the Indian markets for their perishable produce," said Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary, (PAI-Pakistan, Afghanistan, India) in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi.
"This flight has added another chapter to the connectivity that has existed since times immemorial. We hope to extend air cargo flights to other cities between India and Afghanistan," said Gopal Bagley, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs.
The decision to establish an Air Freight Corridor between Afghanistan and India was taken in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani in September 2016 during the President Ghani's visit to India.
"During his visit to India in September 2016, President Ghani had urged Indian and Afghan businessmen to achieve a target of USD 10 billion in trade over the next five years," said Dr. Mittal.
Earlier, in January 2015, India had announced its decision to allow Afghan Trucks to enter the Indian Territory through Atari land check post for offloading and loading goods from and to Afghanistan. India is also cooperating with Afghanistan and Iran for development of the Chabahar Port.
Later on in May 2016, a trilateral transport and transit agreement based on sea access through Chabahar was signed in the presence of the leaders of the three countries in Tehran.