Karzai: Afghanistan open for Indian investment
By Sadaf Shinwari - Sun Nov 11 2012, 7:45 pm
During his four-day visit to India, President Hamid Karzai has called on Indian businesspeople to cooperate more with Afghan ones.
He said that Indian businesspeople should “not be afraid” of investing in Afghan economy.
“Indian businesses need not be shy when thinking of Afghanistan. Chinese businesses were there long before you came, five or six years ago. And they have now taken two or three major contracts,” he said, addressing the captains of the industry here, DECCAN Chronicle reports.
Karzai said his administration will do all things possible and accord special treatment to Indian investors.
“We would like to give you a better platform. We would like to welcome you on a red carpet and others on a grey carpet. But you need to arrive on the red carpet. If you don’t arrive on the red carpet, it will get dusty. Therefore, do hurry up in coming and take advantage of the opportunities in Afghanistan,” Karzai told the industry leaders.
He, however, reminded them that there is strong competition in his country.
“Competition is strong. You have now competition from the West arriving in Afghanistan,” said Karzai, who has been the head of government since 2001 following the US intervention and the ouster of the Taliban.
Karzai appreciated India’s aid of $2 billion, despite not being a dollar economy and went on saying, “Afghanistan’s forex reserves, including gold, have risen to $7 billion now from $180 million in 2002.”
Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Anand Sharma, who also partook in the session, observed Karzai’s visit to India as a homecoming since the Afghan Presidnt had completed his post-graduation studies in Shimla. “We can easily reach $1 billion (of trade) within next three years,” Sharma said, while pointing out that the bilateral trade between the two countries was over $600 million last year.