The Federation of Indian Export Organisation has said that the Taliban have stopped imports and exports through transit routes in Pakistan after they seized control of Afghanistan last week, reported ANI on Thursday. The Federation of Indian Export Organisation is a trade promotion body set up jointly by the Union Ministry of Commerce and the private trading sector.
“We keep a close watch on developments in Afghanistan,” Ajay Sahai, the director general of the organisation, told ANI. “Imports from there come through transit route of Pakistan. As of now, [the] Taliban have stopped movement of cargo to Pakistan, so virtually imports have been stopped.”
Sahai, however, said that some goods are being exported through the International North-South Transport Corridor and the Dubai route.
The director general of the organisation pointed out that India is one the of biggest trade partners of Afghanistan. He said that India exported goods worth $835 million (over Rs 6,210 crore) and imported materials worth $510 million (more than Rs 3,793 crore) this year.
India exports coffee, tea, medicines, sugar, apparel, spices, transmission towers and some other goods. The imports are mainly related to dry fruits and onions, Sahai said.
“But besides the trade, we have a sizeable investment in Afghanistan,” Sahai told ANI. “We have invested around USD 3 billion [over Rs 22,318 crore] in Afghanistan and there are 400-odd projects in Afghanistan, some of which are currently going on.”
He also expressed concern that the ban on imports can cause the rate of dry fruits to climb in India. Around 85% of dry fruits in India come from Afghanistan. “I will say that may not directly impact the prices but the very fact that one of the sources of import no longer exists, speculation of increase in prices is not ruled out,” Sahai told ANI.
The Confederation of All India Traders too had said that prices of some goods imported from Afghanistan can go up and that the Taliban takeover will impact the bilateral ties between the two countries, reported India Today.
“It is a landlocked country and the air route is the main medium of exports and that has been disrupted. Trade will resume only after the uncertainty eases,” the Confederation of All India Traders said. “Private players will have to deal through third countries to export to Afghanistan, but it all depends on how the situation evolves.”
However, Sahai was optimistic that the situation will soon improve. “I am pretty sure over a period of time Afghanistan will also realise that economic development is the only way to move forward and they will continue with that kind of trade,” he said. “I think the new regime will like to have political legitimacy and for that, India’s role will become important for them also.”