Chandigarh, November 23: Afghanistan’s ambassador to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali has proposed revival of the Amritsar-Kabul air corridor and a pilot project for 1500 tonnes of cargo trade to further boost his country’s traditionally close ties with Punjab.
The ambassador met Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here on Wednesday to discuss the huge potential for promoting business and trade between Afghanistan and Punjab. The Chief Minister said the two share historical relations and presented to the envoy a book `Baba Ala Singh’ by Kirpal Singh, founder of Patiala state. The book traces the Afghan connection with Punjab, which Captain Amarinder showed keenness to strengthen further through trade and other avenues.
The Indian and Afghan association goes back centuries and we need to strengthen it further to complement each other’s progress, said the Chief Minister, pointing out that both Punjab and Afghanistan had a similar economy, focused on Agriculture.
The ambassador suggested opening a trade corridor through a cargo trade pilot project with pharmaceutical goods, engineering products, wollens, dairy items, fresh and dry fruits, meat, processed food and milk powder. He also suggested that Punjab should import meat products from Afghanistan.
The Chief Minister expressed interest in the proposal and directed his officials to hold further discussions with Afghanistan and work out the modalities for the pilot project, which would contribute to Punjab’s efforts to promote industry in the state.
The Afghan envoy, who has already visited Amrtisar and plans to go to Sirhind tomorrow, also saw huge potential for education for his country’s youth in Punjab. There were at present around 16000 Afghan students in India, he said, adding that he found university education in Punjab to be good.
The meeting was attended, among others, by Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh, Principal Secretary Tejveer Singh and Advisor Horticulture Himmat Singh.