India-Afghanistan air corridor: Opening new avenues

20 Jun 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar

The very first India-Afghanistan air corridor was inaugurated by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently, at a ceremony held at the Kabul International Airport.

The corridor bypassing through Pakistan is expected to resolve connectivity issues and thereby improve trade between the two countries.

Thanking PM Modi, Ghani further noted that the route aims to make Afghanistan an exporter country and create more opportunities.

In context: India-Afghanistan air corridor: New avenues for trade

20 Jun 2017India-Afghanistan air corridor: Opening new avenues

BackgroundPakistan: A hurdle for India-Afghanistan trade

Afghanistan relies on Karachi port in Pakistan for its exports and imports. Afghanistan's efforts to trade with India have further been affected by growing Pakistan-Afghanistan tensions over supporting terrorism.

Under a 2010 trade transit agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan, trucks carrying Afghan goods were allowed up to the India-Pakistan border, but did not allow Indian goods to be carried through Pakistani territory.

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Flight schedules

The flights are scheduled to ply five times a week. The first flight carrying 60 tonnes of medicinal plants, mostly asafoetida was welcomed by Indian officials on Monday, a second flight from southern Kandahar carrying dry fruits is expected to depart next.
How will the air corridor benefit Afghanistan?

BenefitsHow will the air corridor benefit Afghanistan?

Afghanistan aims to transform itself into an exporter country and looks to eliminate poverty and instability through elevating its status, noted President Ghani.

According to Indian officials, the newly opened service aims to link Afghanistan to markets abroad and boost the prospects of marketing renowned Afghanistan-made goods including carpets and agricultural produce.

India further looks to expand connectivity to other cities in Afghanistan.