Since the 1990s India has remained the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Afghanistan.
Major infrastructure projects that costed India millions of dollars includes the India-Afghan Friendship Dam (Salma Dam), Doshi Charikkar Power sub-stations, Stor Palace, construction of Afghanistan's Parliament building and the completion of the Chabahar Port that connects India to Afghanistan by-passing Pakistan.
Thanks to Iran, positive effects of Chabahar Port are already visible in the bilateral trade between India and Afghanistan which has been growing continuously where as on the other hand Pakistan's exports to Afghanistan has declined by 47%.
What is MFN Status ?
Most Favored Nation status is an economic position in which a country enjoys the best trade terms given by its trading partner. That means it receives the lowest tariffs, the fewest trade barriers, and the highest import quotas (or none at all).
Why should India give Afghanistan Preferential MFN Status ?
In order for a war-torn country like Afghanistan to recover from the effects of negative economic growth, it is imperative for us to help Afghanistan boost its exports to a market economy like ours. Preferential access to the Indian market will help Afghanistan stabilize and build its economy and military brick by brick.
A stronger Afghanistan on Pakistan's western front and a far more powerful India on its eastern front will surely give the Pakistani Army sleepless nights. An alliance so strong should be forged that if Pakistan fires a bullet on an Afghan soldier, India should retaliate with the same coin on the Pak border and vice-versa.
Pakistan is on the cusp of declaring bankruptcy with spiraling debt. It is just a matter of time where the vicious circle of taking international loans to pay off interest of old loans drowns the country to state where it has to be governed by an international body and permanently surrender its Nuclear arsenal.
Awarding Preferential Trade Status to Afghanistan at this time will send a clear signal to Pakistan that India has firmly made up its mind of cancelling all trade-ties with Pak and is determined to support a stronger, stable and bolder Afghanistan.
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Article written by Darshil Patel exclusively for www.DefenceNews.in
Bsc. in CASFX - UK
Location - MUMBAI