Since the Taliban gained control of Afghanistan, India’s trade with the nation has dried up as borders and banks have stopped, but industry executives say the interruption is just temporary and that business will resume shortly.
New Delhi is a major provider of vital goods to Afghanistan, which mostly exports dry fruits to India.
Industry officials claimed that once Taliban rebels began making military gains earlier this month, up to the fall of the capital Kabul on Sunday, shipments between the two nations were delayed or hindered.
“Because Afghanistan is going through a political transition, there is a temporary snag in trade. However, the trade will resume in a few days “, according to Rahil Shaikh, managing director, MEIR Commodities, located in Mumbai, sells sugar to Afghanistan.
India’s exports to Afghanistan totaled $826 million in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, with sugar, cereals, tea, spices, pharmaceuticals, and textile goods accounting for the majority.
In the same year, New Delhi imported $509 million worth of goods from Kabul, mostly figs, raisins, and apples.
According to the All India Sugar Trade Association, Afghanistan was the second-largest consumer of Indian sugar in the 2020/21 marketing year, acquiring a record 624,000 tonnes.
Indian exports to Afghanistan often arrive at Pakistan’s Karachi port and are transported to Afghanistan by road from there.
Afghanistan’s demand for sugar and other basic commodities is strong, and imports might increase if banks begin to operate, according to Tayyab Balagamwala, director of the Karachi-based Seatrade Group.
“Many import tariffs have been reduced by the Taliban. More imports will result as a result of this ” stated Balagamwala.
Even under the previous Taliban administration in Afghanistan, from 1996 to 2001, India was buying and exporting goods from the country, according to a Mumbai-based exporter who declined to be identified.
Measures on the Taliban might be imposed by the United States or the European Union, but such sanctions would prohibit the flow of critical goods, he added.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisation told Reuter’s partner ANI on Thursday that the Taliban have stopped all imports and exports from India through transit routes of Pakistan.
But Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid denied this in a Tweet saying “The Islamic Emirate wants better diplomatic and trade relations with all countries.”
However more developments on this matter are still awaited.