With the Taliban taking power, the possibility of an impact on India’s trade relations with Afghanistan has deepened. Trade relations between the two countries have been there for centuries. Apart from traditional trade, India has invested thousands of crores in several major projects in Afghanistan. The direct impact on import-export and big projects will have an impact on India’s businessmen, common man and government. Let us understand how the picture of Afghanistan-India trade is and what difference it can make.
Rise in prices of dry fruits
Dried fruits from Afghanistan are imported from Attari border, but now it is on the verge of closure. According to the traders of Punjab, there is an annual import of 2,900 crores of dry fruits and fruits from Afghanistan.
The prices of dry fruits have increased by 25 to 30 percent. Almonds, which are sold at the rate of around Rs 600 per kg, are currently being sold at Rs 1,000 per kg.
Advance amount of crores of rupees of local traders is stuck. Afghan traders who want to take money from Indian traders have also stopped their payments. He argues that when the situation improves here (in Afghanistan), he will get the money.
Dry fruits trader BK Bajaj said that only one or two trucks are coming through Attari. Earlier eight to 10 trucks used to come daily.
Pyaare Lal Seth, head of Punjab Pradesh Trade Board said that due to non-availability of imports according to the demand, the festive season will be affected the most.
70 crore business of hosiery and hand tool industry affected
The hosiery industry of Ludhiana exports about Rs 500 crore to Afghanistan every year and the hand tool industry about Rs 20 crore. SC Ralhan, former national president of Federation of Indian Exporters Organization, said exports have suffered a setback due to the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
Business of more than 10 thousand crores
In the financial year 2020-21, there was a trade of 1.4 billion dollars i.e. about Rs 10,387 crore between the two countries.
Talking about exports from India, in 2020-21, products worth about Rs 6,129 crore were sent to Afghanistan.
Against this export, India imported products worth Rs 3,783 crore from Afghanistan.
In the previous year i.e. in the financial year 2019-20, the trade between the two countries was $ 1.52 billion. In Indian rupees, about Rs 11,131 crore business was done this year.
In 2011, under a strategic agreement, India had promised education and technical assistance along with cooperation in strengthening infrastructure there.
In November 2020 in Geneva, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that there is no part of Afghanistan that India has not touched.
What do we order from Afghanistan?
India is the largest market for Afghan products in South Asia.
India mainly gets dry fruits and fruits from Afghanistan.
– Raisins, walnuts, almonds, figs, pine nuts, pistachios, dried apricots are mainly exported from Afghanistan.
Apart from this, fresh fruits like pomegranate, apple, cherry, cantaloupe, watermelon and spices like asafoetida, cumin and saffron are also imported from Afghanistan.
Apricots, cherries and medicinal herbs also come from the neighboring country.
What India sends to Afghanistan
From India, mainly tea, coffee, cotton and pepper are exported to Afghanistan.
Apart from this, India has been involved in projects worth thousands of crores, some of which are still ongoing.
India invested Rs 22,500 crore
India has worked on important infrastructure projects like roads, dams, hospitals in Afghanistan. It has invested around Rs 22,500 crore there.
Worrying Delhi’s wholesale market
Old Delhi’s wholesale markets are mired in concern as Chandni Chowk’s business relationship with Afghanistan goes back decades. Borrowings worth crores of rupees are stuck. From there dry fruits come here, then clothes, medicine, medical equipment and auto parts go from here.
Niranjan Poddar, President, Automotive and General Traders Welfare Association, Mori Gate, says that Afghanistan is a huge market for tractor parts, earth movers, cranes, hydra, poklen and parts of JCB machines. Crores of rupees are stuck.
Sri Bhagwan Bansal, senior vice president of Delhi Hindustani Mercantile Association, Chandni Chowk, said that ladies suits and cotton kurtas go to Kabul and Kandahar from the cloth market of Chandni Chowk.
What do the people associated with the Traders Union say?
Bilateral trade will be badly affected as the future will be uncertain under these circumstances. Shipments are stranded. Large amounts of payments may be blocked. The government should also take cognizance of this.
Praveen Khandelwal, General Secretary, Confederation of All India Traders (CAT)
We may not lose everything because they need our products.
SK Saraf, former FIEO chairman and country’s leading exporter
Karnal’s rice export business has not been affected much. There is hardly any import from here to Afghanistan.