At the invitation of Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali attended the Gulmarg Snow Festival held on January 12-14, 2018 at Gulmarg, Kashmir.

The three day carnival which was held in famed Ski resort of Gondola base station aimed at promoting tourism and attracting more tourists to the Kashmir valley. During this festival, activities such as snow cycling, snow zorbing, snow tubing, ATV race, ethnic and street food and other cultural events were showcased.

Interacting with a group of tourists during the event, Dr. Abdali emphasized over the deeply rooted cultural and historical relations between Afghanistan and Kashmir and added: “The large Afghan diaspora in Kashmir is the best representation of the millennia old historical and cultural ties between Afghanistan and India; therefore, constant people to people contact is important to further strengthen our strategic relations under the current circumstances”.

During this event, Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Mufti; Adviser to Chief Minister, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo; MLA, Gulmarg, Muhammad Abbas Wani; CEO, Niti Ayug, Amitabh Kant; Additional Solicitor General of India, Pinki Anand; well-known columnist & British parliamentarian, Lord Meghnad Desai; filmmaker, Imtiyaz Ali; writer, Rakhshanda Jalil and renowned personalities from different walks of life were also present.

Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of Afghanistan to India and non-resident Ambassador of Afghanistan to Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives met with Shankar Das Bairagi, the Foreign Secretary of Nepal at the Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi on January 16, 2018.

 The meeting was aimed to discuss the bilateral ties between the two nations, exchanging views on current security chaos in the region and consulate services of Nepal for Afghan citizens.

At the outset, the duo exchanged views about bilateral relations between Nepal and Afghanistan and discussed the ways to further strengthen these ties. To further boost the diplomatic relations between the two nations, the Foreign Secretary of Nepal proposed introduction of honorary consuls from both the nations.

The Foreign Secretary of Nepal also expressed concern over the Nepalese prisoners in Afghanistan and considering friendly relations between the two nations, he solicited the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi to work with the Afghan government in order to get an exit for these prisoners.

The Ambassador Abdali also thanked the government of Nepal for the visa-on-arrival facility which will be launched soon for the Afghan citizens traveling to Nepal and assured his counterpart to convey to request for the release of Nepalese prisoners from Afghanistan.

The duo exchanged views on SAARC activities as well as the current security challenges in the region and ways to tackle the state sponsorship of terrorism in the region.

It is worth mentioning that Hamid Tahzeeb, the First Secretary to the Embassy of Afghanistan was also present in the meeting.

On a trip to Bhopal, Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Ambassador of Afghanistan to India visited Sehore, Shahjapur, Raisen, Selwanie and Akodia districts from December 30 2017 to 1st January 2018.

During his trip which was organized by All India Pakhtoon Jargah-e-Hind, headed by Saeedullah Khan, the Afghan Ambassador met with Afghan families who are settled in Bhopal for more than 300 years, when the city was built by Sardar Dost Mohammad Khan.

Thanking for extending warm welcome which was witnessed by a huge crowd, Dr. Abdali during his address noted upon the old-aged cultural relations between India and Afghanistan and asked the participants to work together in bringing the two countries closer.  

Remembering the inception of the joint anti-violence movement by India and Afghanistan, the Afghan Ambassador said: We imbibed the culture of Mahatma Gandhi and Khān Abdul Ghaffār Khān, who was also called 'Frontier Gandhi' in British India. "Their relationship was both personal and political and still holds profound relevance,"

On his visit to Sanchi, a Buddhist complex recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which is famous for the Great Stupa, Dr. Abdali spoke about the history that India and Afghanistan shares since centuries and added: “"Afghanistan also got the Buddhas of Bamiyan through its links with India, On the other hand, Indian sub-continent gained Sufism through its connect with Afghanistan,"

Hinting about rebuilding the Bamyan statues in Afghanistan, Dr. Abdali, said that the Afghan government has already taken initiative with UNESCO for rebuilding the Buddha statues which were demolished by Taliban in 2001.   Ambassador Abdali also welcomed assistance of India to recreate the Buddha of Bamyan.

In a separate meeting with the Afghan students studying in Bhopal, the Afghan Ambassador addressed the students and assured them of Afghan Embassy’s support and cooperation.

It is worth mentioning that the series of private visits of the Afghan Ambassador to other states of India will continue in future to explore history, knowledge and culture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Envisioning in expanding the air freight corridor to other cities in India, the Kabul-Mumbai cargo was flagged off by Vice President of Afghanistan Mohammad Sarwar Danish on December 27, 2017.

The inception of Kabul-Mumbai air freight corridor is creating positive hope for taking economic ties between India-Afghanistan to an upward trajectory.

H.E Ashok Gajapathi Raju Minister of Civil Aviation, India had expressed India’s interest in expanding air corridor to other cities during the ‘Passage to Prosperity’ exhibition held in September this year.

The Kabul-Mumbai corridor will help expand the export of the Afghan fresh fruits and other commodities. The Kabul side freighted 40 tons of apples and Mumbai exported 40 tons of bananas and tomatoes to Kabul.

Inaugurated by President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the first air-corridor between India and Afghanistan was initiated in June this year. The first direct air cargo from New Delhi- Kabul freighted 100 tons of cargo, mainly pharmaceuticals, water purifiers and medical equipment

The current volume of trade between Afghanistan and India is $700 million annually. Keeping in view, Afghanistan’s vision to achieve a target of USD 10 billion in trade between India and Afghanistan over the next five years, Kabul-Mumbai route set lots of expectations in expanding and enhancing trade between the two nations.

The expansion of air freight corridor sets positive hopes for the growth of trade between India and Afghanistan.  Major imports from Afghanistan to India are fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, raisins, vegetables, oilseeds, precious and semi-precious stones, etc.

 

 

Adam Burakowski, the Ambassador of Poland to India and Non-Resident Ambassador to Afghanistan paid a courtesy call upon Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali, the Ambassador of Afghanistan to India at the latter’s office on December 19, 2017.

Welcoming the newly appointed counterpart, Dr. Abdali congratulated Ambassador Adam Burakowski for his new tenure in India and Afghanistan.

The due exchanged views on bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Poland and discussed ways to further enhance ties between both the countries.

Referring to security challenges in the region and Afghanistan in particular, the Afghan Ambassador expressed concern over state sponsorship terrorism and stressed on the pressing need for sincere cooperation of the neighboring countries in fighting against terrorism.

The Polish Ambassador solicited the Afghan Embassy’s cooperation in facilitating a meeting with the President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to present him with his credentials.

Both the envoys exchanged views on further strengthening the ties between the two nations and assured each other of the cooperation from both sides.