Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has urged Indian businessmen to hurry up to grab investment opportunities in his country and said Afghanistan was ripe and ready to accept investment in mining and other sectors.
“Afghanistan is the richest in mineral resources. The media reported it is worth $3 trillion but we have higher figures. What The New York Times reported is the tip of the iceberg. India is well positioned to take advantage,” Mr. Karzai told members of CII, FICCI and Assocham in Mumbai.
Mr. Karzai, leading a high-level delegation, was in Mumbai to assure Indian business leaders that Afghanistan was lucrative and safe for investment.
“Indian oil and gas companies are talking to invest. Other industry should look at other mineral resources. Indian businessmen need not shy away. The Chinese came five to six years before you and they have already got two or three major contracts. You are closer by all means and you should come in large numbers,” Mr. Karzai said.
“The competition [to invest in Afghanistan] is strong. Now even Western companies are coming in large numbers. But we want to welcome you with a red carpet while others will get a grey carpet. But you need to come and walk on that red carpet. Do hurry up and take advantage of Afghanistan. Traditionally India is not a donor country but it committed $2 billion to us. It is moral obligation and gratitude that binds us” the Afghan President said.
Union Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said India committed to provide assistance to Afghanistan in infrastructure development, power generation and building capacities in health and education.
CII president Adi Godrej said: “Our government and the industry view Afghanistan as a key ally. We will keep your red carpet busy.”
He outlined a 5 point agenda to strengthen the traditional bonds between two countries.