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MoU with Afghanistan

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to be signed between Assam and Afghanistan, India’s strategic ally and neighbour in Central Asia. This fact was revealed by Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Ambassador to the Afghan Embassy in India.

Abdali made this statement while adderessing the Assam-Afghan Business Session at the ongoing Assam International Trade and Industrial Fair (AITIF) at Jorhat today. He stated that the Afghan government is planning a tea research project with the Kaziranga University as the love for tea is great among the Afghan people and the Assam brand of tea is quite popular there. He said that this project can result in a wide collaboration over the tea trade between Assam and Afghanistan and that there is huge scope to expand the export and import of tea between the two countries.

Abdali said that Afghanistan has always given the red carpet treatment to Indian businesses in their country.  He said that India has a special place in the hearts of the Afghan people but he also lamented that there are only about 100 Indian companies there so far. He expressed hope that the number would increase as a strong foundation for future partnership is being laid through such business meets as the AITIF.

Abdali further said that India and Afghanistan share a strong bond of trust between them. He said that Afghans want to do business with someone whom they can trust. He also said that there are 42 countries which are helping Afghanistan in her rebuilding process and India is on the top position among them. He stated that with such help, Afghanistan would be able to rebuild itself in a span of thirteen years.

Also speaking at the do was Sayed Mujtaba Ahmadi, the Economic Counsellor to the Afghanistan Embassy in India. He said that India and Afghanistan don’t just share a conventional trade relationship between each other but pointed out that Afghanistan is India’s doorway for economic gains in Central Asia. He emphasised that the increased relations between the countries would act as a bridge between South Asia and Central Asia. He also talkjed of a proposed power plant in Afghanistan with Indian assistance.

Ahmadi sang praises for Assam’s natural beauty and climate and said that its beauty resembles that of Afghanistan. He said that Indian businessmen will get a trade visa for three years upon arrival in Afghanistan. He said that this would encourage increased business ventures between both the countries. He said that Afghanistan is ready for all sorts of investments from India and in particular from Assam in this respect.

Also present at the do were Shri Swapnanil Baruah, the Commissioner of Industries and Commerce for the Assam state government and Shri Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman of the North Eastern Advisory Council for the FICCI, who spoke of the greater potential of Assam in playing a role in Afghanistan’s rebuilding.

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