“Our ties are so close because India believes in Afghanistan”
India Empire magazine’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty caught up with Mr Tahir Qadiry, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India, who spoke on a range of issues—from international relations to education, trade to medical tourism, and more ...
What is the extent of bilateral trade between our two nations, and where do you see things moving in the next five years?
The bilateral trade has already improved and strengthened more than ever. India is one of our trusted partners. In terms of trade Afghanistan has a huge relationship with India. We’ve two cargo flights every week. They help bring in about 11 tons of fresh fruits, saffron, carpets and other items to Delhi. Quite soon our traders will be bringing fresh grapes and fruits from Afghanistan to India through Chabahar. With the way things are, I do see a really bright and vibrant future insofar as bilateral trade is concerned. Our traders are always willing to develop a lasting relationship with India. Going forward the air corridors will increase, and business will grow. As I see quite often nowadays, people have breakfast in Kabul and lunch in Delhi. The trend is happily growing.
What has been the cooperation in the areas of education and medical value travel between the two countries?
India has made a huge contribution in terms of granting scholarships. Since the year 2003, about 60,000 Afghani students have come and studied in India. Currently we have 16,000 Afghan students in India. Last week I was at the Amity University where they launched a capacity building course for 15-16 Afghan professors. There are regular courses like these for the teaching community of Afghanistan.
Medical tourism is also very big. If I am not wrong, India is perhaps the only destination for a lot of Afghans, both for cultural tourism and medical tourism. They trust the Indian medical system which is very good. We’re trying to build on it by signing MoUs with a few hospitals.