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Afghanistan beckons Indian industry with red carpet

Last updated on: November 11, 2012 14:40 IST

Afghanistan beckons Indian industry with red carpet

BS Reporter in Mumbai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has offered all help and security to foreign investments and urged Indian corporations to come forward with major investments to exploit the growing business opportunities in his country.

Afghanistan is ripe and ready for more investments from India and offers a lot of opportunities for Indian industry, Karzai told a business session, jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

"Indian business need not be shy. We would like to invite you on a red carpet, but you need to arrive at the red carpet to take advantage of those opportunities," he said.

"You need not worry about your investments. Not only will Afghan law protect you, but also Afghan people will add to your profits," he said, assuring Indian industry of all help in his war-torn country.

Appreciating India's aid of $2 billion to Afghanistan, Karzai said: "Afghanistan's forex reserves, including gold, have risen to $7 billion now from $180 million in 2002." He also spoke about the rich mineral resources in the country and said an Indian conglomerate was already in talks for an iron ore mine and a contract would be signed shortly.

Terming Karzai's visit to India as home-coming since he had completed his post-graduation studies in Shimla, Anand Sharma, minister for commerce and industry, said: "We can easily reach $1 billion (of trade) within the next three years." The bilateral trade between the two countries was over $600 million last year, Sharma said.

Expressing India's commitment to Afghanistan's reconstruction and rehabilitation, Sharma said: "Afghanistan has the potential to absorb much more than the committed $16 billion of global development assistance this decade."

Drawing a parallel between the Afghan and Indian economy and the need to grow at over 8 per cent, Sharma said: "We have no choice or option, but an imperative dimension to create employment for 12 million new jobs."

Image: Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai (R) speaks with Trade Minister Anand Sharma during a business conference in Mumbai November 10, 2012. Karzai is on a five-day state visit to India.
Photographs: Vivek Prakash/Reuters