Karzai asks India Inc not to shy away from Afghanistan, cites earlybird China
China has been among the first to invest in Afghanistan and experts appreciate it as a good move given the geo-political importance of Afghanistan as a bridge between South and Central Asia.
Karzai said a lot has changed in Afghanistan over the past decade and also appreciated over USD 2 billion funding by New Delhi in rebuilding efforts, infrastructure development and capacity building.
The Afghan economy has recovered from having reserves of USD 180 million to over USD 7 billion now. The country's per capita income has risen from USD 200 to USD 700, Karzai said.
He said those who invested early have reaped rich dividends and assured all help to Indian businesses.
"Those who came ahead are now multi-millionaires," he said, citing the example of a telecom company which invested USD 5 million in 2002 and is now commanding a valuation of USD 700 million.
"Indeed, Afghanistan today is ripe and ready for Indian investments," he said.
Referring to the Steel Authority of India-led consortium's plans of mining in Afghanistan, Karzai said a conglomeration of Indian firms is in the final stages of investing and hoped the necessary contracts are signed soon.
Speaking at the event, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said India is committed to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan.
India, which shares close bonds with Afghanistan dating back to centuries, is helping the country both as a friend
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