Indo-Afghan trade likely to touch $3b soon
KOLKATA (Pajhwok): Afghanistan is considering to open a consular office in east Indian city of Kolkata to boost trade ties with the region while pitching to make Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan a sister city of Kolkata, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India said.
Speaking to reporters at a meeting organized by The Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, Shaida Mohammad Abdali said: "I have suggested to my government to open a consular office in Kolkata. It is likely to boost trade relationship between Afghanistan and Kolkata in eastern India."
Abdali said he would meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday and put forward a proposal for an agreement for according Kolkata the 'sister-city' status to Afghanistan's Mazar-e-Sharif City, the capital of northern Balkh province.
"Both Kolkata and Mazar-e-Sharif have similarities. They are fast developing cities. I will meet the Chief Minister tomorrow and propose her to make a 'sister-city' relationship between the two cities," he argued.
Speaking on an alternative transit route, he said: "Pakistan is the current route. However, the draft MoU transit trade agreement had been submitted to Iran by India and Afghanistan over the issue of Chabahar port."
He said India has offered $200 million to upgrade the Chabahar port in Iran. Abdali invited businessmen from Kolkata to grab the business opportunity in the Asian country.
"We want you all to grab the business opportunity and develop trade relationships between India and Afghanistan," he added. He said the bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan is likely to touch $3 billion in future.
"If Chabahar port gets operational then we will witness an increase in the trade between two nations," he said.
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