Hyderabad, February 23, 2023…..An interactive meeting on Exploring Business Opportunities with Afghanistan was held in the city at FTCCI on Wednesday. His Excellency Farid Mamundzay, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India was the Chief Guest.
Other dignitaries who graced include Mr. Qadir Shah, Counselor (Head of Trade Office) Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mr Sayed Mohammad Ibrahimkhil, Acting Consul General, Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Mr Sediqullah Sahar, Education Attaché Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, FTCCI President Mr. Anil Agarwal, Ms Khyati Nirawane, CEO of FTCCI, Mr. Chakravarthy AVPS, Chair of- International Trade & Business relations Committee
It was jointly organized by The Federation of Telangana Chamber of Commerce and Industry(FTCCI) and the World Trade Center.
Addressing a gathering composed of trade, travel, import, and export professionals, community looking at export opportunities and FTCCI members. His Excellency Farid Mamundzay asked India and Telangana to look at Afghanistan as a potential future for bilateral trade. India is a natural trade destination he said. .
Five hundred plus Afghanistan students are studying in Telangana in Osmania, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, JNTU, and The Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages. Hundred plus are studying at Osmania University alone. Telangana is contributing to the soft development and capacity building of our youth. Thank you for hosting them, he said.
Later Sediqullah Sahar, Education Attaché Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan added that Afghani students prefer India for their higher education. We have over 60,000 Alumni who studied in India in the last twenty years. Nearly 10,000 alumni are from Telangana alone. Telangana is the top choice destination for many students in Afghanistan, he added.
Continuing to address, the Ambassador said, we have deep-rooted history between the two countries. And, also with Telangana. That is the reason why we opened a second Consulate in India at Hyderabad. This is very significant, he said.
The ambassador said the first provisional Government of India was a provisional government in exile established by Raja Mahendra Pratap from Kabul in Afghanistan. We stood against British, he said. Thirty years after that event India got its Independence. India and Afghanistan, both countries are a source of inspiration for each other. We are an extension of India. We have a 1900-year-old Mandir and it is located in Kabul.
Speaking further he said the purpose of my maiden visit is to tell the business community more about Afghanistan. The current trade between both countries is about Rs 12000 crore. India exports more to Afghanistan than we do to India. We export dry fruits, precious stones, semi-precious stones, spices, saffron, and others. India exports Pharma products, textile chemicals, and others. With increasing ties the trade potential can be doubled in a couple of years, he told the gathering
We need help in mining from India. We seek time investment from Indian companies. Our mining is worth over $ 3 trillion US dollars. We also need investments in infrastructure projects, and solar plants, the ambassador shared.
He said that air connectivity between the two nations needs to be improved. Currently, we have two weekly flights, from Delhi to Kabul. We want air connectivity between Hyderabad and Kabul, he said.
I know you are all worried about political stability in Afghanistan. Trade continuity is a sign of stability. In the last 19 months, not a single incident happened which should worry the business community. Our currency is also stable despite inflation. We also offer to export high-quality coal, and base metals to India. We can help India with raw materials and you can give the finished material to us. Amritsar is just 700 km away from Afghanistan. We are not very far away. We are very close to India. We must boost trade relations, the ambassador said.
Nearly 20,000 people in Afghanistan are suffering from Cancer. And 16000 people out of 20,000 die from late diagnosis and lack of medicine. I recently visited Tata Memorial in Mumbai to explore how we can help our people. The market for pharma products is about $ 1 billion US. It is a big market worth exploring, he told Indian pharma companies more so the ones in Hyderabad
Giving his opening remarks, Mr Anil Agarwal, President of FTCCI invited the Afghanistan Government to be part of the growth story of Telangana. Afghanistan is an important trade partner of India. He also urged them to participate in the Industrial Innovation Technology Expo to be held in June.
Ms Khyati Narawane, CEO of FTCCI said the 106 years old chamber provides market access to its members on international trade.
Mr. Chakravarthy AVPS, Chair of the International Trade & Business relations Committee said Afghanistan should have been what Singapore is today. Because it is 1000 times more potent than Singapore.
Let us rewrite history by reconnecting Afghanistan with the people of the rest of the world. He also requested His Excellency Farid Mamundzay, Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India to address the safety and security concerns that people have about Afghanistan.