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Afghan financial system in tatters, relations on maintain, Delhi and Kabul commerce through Dubai

Kabul Trade Via Dubai

The chaos that adopted the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August final yr noticed India shutting down its mission and pulling out of Afghanistan. With the nation’s financial system in a shambles and diplomatic ties suspended — India has nonetheless not recognised the Taliban regime — bilateral commerce, which took a success within the fast aftermath of the takeover, picked up once more. Via Dubai, and its banks.

Afghanistan has been a serious vacation spot for Indian sugar, and India one of many greatest importers of Afghan spices and dried fruits, particularly apricots and figs. The Taliban takeover befell at a time when Afghanistan was anticipating a bumper crop of dried fruits, most of it meant for India.

With the collapse of the financial system and no diplomatic relations, there was uncertainty over the destiny of this bilateral commerce which included different exports from India and was valued at $1.5 bn in 2019-2020.

But 10 months down the street, Indian merchants say their Afghan exports and transactions are continuing easily after a brief interruption, despite the fact that complete commerce within the 2021-22 fiscal fell by nearly 40 per cent in worth over the earlier yr.

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Last fiscal, complete commerce was Rs 3,719.76 crore, as towards Rs 6,106.20 crore recorded in 2020-21, in line with commerce statistics of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

While Indian merchants stated they misplaced a month’s commerce instantly after the Taliban takeover, the Afghan-India air freight hall, inaugurated in 2017 and which by 2021 related Kabul, Kandahar and Herat to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, has remained suspended since August final yr.

But Indian exporters have continued to ship items by sea to Karachi port, and from there by street to Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s exports have been trickling in via the Chabahar port in Iran, and the Wagah border with Pakistan.

Rahil Sheikh, managing director of MEIR Commodities, a Navi Mumbai-based agricultural commodities wholesale firm, stated commerce resumed inside a month of the Taliban takeover and is now again to the earlier export ranges of 60,000 tonnes of sugar from India each month.

“Sugar is sent in large containers from Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai or the Mundra port in Gujarat to Karachi. From there, trucks transport the load via the land route into Afghanistan,” he stated.

Sheikh and different merchants used to route funds via Afghan banks however now all transactions are routed through Dubai. Claiming merchants should not dealing with fee troubles, he stated the Taliban regime too is eager to keep up regular provide of important commodities. Almost 90 per cent of sugar which makes its approach into Afghanistan has its origins within the mills of Maharashtra.

For India, Afghanistan was the biggest and the closest supply for import of apricots, dried figs, asafoetida (hing) and small pistachio nuts. Vijay Bhuta, director of Mumbai Spice Market and president of Dry Fruit Traders Association, confirmed that imports resumed inside a fortnight of the Taliban takeover. “Earlier, we were dealing with the bank in Afghanistan, but then most trade shifted to banks in Dubai,” he stated.

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The Taliban regime and the Indian authorities are conscious that commerce has picked up, and that Dubai has emerged as a fee hub. According to information accessible on the Indian embassy on-line website, bilateral commerce between India and Afghanistan crossed the US $1.5 billion mark in 2019-2020. Of this, India’s exports to Afghanistan have been nearly US $1 billion (US $997.58 million) and India’s imports from Afghanistan round US $530 million.

Afghan exports have responsibility free entry to Indian markets beneath concessions granted by India to Least Developed Countries in SAARC. The main exports from India to Afghanistan have been man-made filaments, articles of apparels and clothes equipment, pharmaceutical merchandise, cereals, man-made staple fibres, tobacco merchandise, dairy and poultry merchandise, espresso/tea/meat and spices. Major imports from Afghanistan to India have been recent fruits, dried fruits/ nuts, raisins, greens, oil seeds, valuable/ semi-precious stones.

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