Indian traders demand a passage to Afghanistan through Pakistan

January 15th, 2008 - 4:35 pm ICT by admin  

By Ravinder Singh Robin
Amritsar, Jan 15 (ANI): Traders in Amritsar have demanded a passage through Pakistan to export Indian goods via Wagah land route to Afghanistan in view of the increasing trade between the two countries.
At present, Pakistan allows only one-sided transit facility to Afghan traders to export dry fruits to India using its land route, while denying the same facility to Indian traders.
Indian traders contend that with Islamabad allowing land route facility for transit of goods both ways would increase Indo-Afghanistan bilateral trade many fold.
“Fortunately, today the situation is changing for the better. But still, I would say the situation is still fluid. Trade at the moment is to the tune of about 300 crores or so per annum, which we are getting one way across to India. Certainly, the import and export of goods can increase but entirely depending on free passage through Pakistan,” said Gunbir Singh, the Chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) Amritsar Zone.
Afghan dry fruits are on high demand in India and are used in preparing a variety of delicacies.
Avinesh Kumar a sweet maker from Amritsar said that they have been using dry fruits from Afghanistan for more than 50 years because of their superior quality and ’sweetness’.
“There are two types of dry fruits which come here. One comes from Afghanistan and the other from America. The maximum dry fruits come from the US. The dry fruits from Afghanistan are sweet,” said Avinesh.
According to Custom’s figures, there is also a sharp increase in the import of dry and fresh fruits after the trucks were allowed to roll into Indo-Pak territory via Wagah. Since October 2007, nearly 3,000 tonnes of dry and fresh fruit has been imported each month from Afghanistan through Wagah. (ANI)

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