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India to Increase Trade with Afghanistan Through Chabahar Port

Chabahar Port - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.03.2024
While India is yet to officially recognise the Taliban*, it is one of the few nations to maintain diplomatic presence in Kabul, primarily to coordinate humanitarian aid to the sanctions-hit nation.
Afghanistan's interim foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and JP Singh, a senior Indian diplomat who heads the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran (PAI) division at Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), held talks in Kabul on Thursday, according to a statement by Afghan foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Qahar Balkhi.
During the meeting, Singh called for expanding economic cooperation with Afghanistan and enhancing trade between the two nations through India-backed Chabahar port in Iran, Balkhi stated.
The Taliban readout quoted the Indian diplomat as describing the relations between the two nations as “historic”.
Singh noted that New Delhi had provided “humanitarian assistance” to Afghanistan over the last two and a half years.
Balkhi said that the Indian diplomat also “commended” Taliban’s efforts in ensuring overall security and stability by combating narcotics’ trade and fighting Daesh** in the nation.

“Extending gratitude to India for its humanitarian assistance, FM Muttaqi said that in line with our balanced foreign policy, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan seeks to strengthen political and economic relations with India as an important actor in the region,” the Afghan readout said.

At the meeting, Muttaqi also urged Singh to “facilitate visa issuance process” for Afghan businessmen, patients and students wanting to travel to India.

Indian Diplomats Meets Afghan Businessmen

During his visit to Kabul, Singh discussed economic, transit and visa issues with Afghan businessmen, according to a statement by the interim Afghan foreign ministry on Friday.

Hafiz Zia Ahmad, the deputy spokesperson at the foreign ministry, said that Afghan businessmen urged the Indian diplomat to "remove existing problems" for them to facilitate bilateral trade exchanges.

"The special representative of the Republic of India assured the Afghan businessmen that he will pay serious attention to the issues of Afghan businessmen and promised to remove existing problems and facilitate visas," Ahmad said.

Singh stressed the need for increasing Indian imports to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port.

"The Afghan businessmen pointed out some problems related to trade through Chabahar, in response to which the Special Representative of the Republic of India promised to make serious efforts to resolve the issues," Ahmad said.

*under UN sanctions
**banned terrorist group
A security officer walks outside the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi, India, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 05.02.2024
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