India sees good potential in enhancing bilateral cooperation with Afghanistan in the small and medium enterprises, textiles and agro-processing sectors, the top commerce ministry official said here on Thursday.

Addressing a 12-member Afghanistan delegation organised by industry chamber FICCI , the Commerce Secretary, Mr Rahul Khullar said growth in imports from Afghanistan — at 16 per cent last year — was quite low. He said there was significant scope for greater co-operation.

Mr Khullar also emphasised that greater capital expenditure in Afghanistan's mining sector was a way forward for development.

On its part, the Afghanistan delegation lauded India's efforts in peace and rehabilitation in the trouble-torn country.

“In 2014, foreign troops will leave Afghanistan. We hope that India will help us bring peace, stability. We strongly support India's bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council,” a spokesperson of the Parliamentary delegation, said.

Mr Vikramjit Singh Sahney, President, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged Afghanistan to engage more actively in the region to ensure its rightful place.

Mr Mohd Noor Akhbari, the spokesperson, assured Indian business about the safety of its investments in Afghanistan, and sought India's help in building its urban transport infrastructure and agriculture, mining and health sectors.

He also underlined the need for more scholarships to Afghan students to study medicine and engineering in India. The scholarships available today were in social sciences alone, he stated.

heena.k@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on May 10, 2012)
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