*In 2017, India opened two air corridors with cargo flights between Kabul, Kandahar, New Delhi, and Mumbai bypassing Pakistan in an effort to boost trade with the landlocked country. Subsequently, Pakistan’s exports of goods to Afghanistan registered a 17.68% drop during the second half of 2018.*
New Delhi (Sputnik): In the last one month, there have been several occasions when Pakistan did not allow Indian private airlines SpiceJet's Afghanistan-bound freight aircraft to fly over its airspace, according to a senior official in the Indian government. The official told Sputnik on the condition of anonymity that in the last week of December and on January 11 and 14, Pakistan's Civil Aviation Authority stopped Indian freight flights to Afghanistan. The Indian government has issued a note verbale expressing its concern to the Pakistani authorities who have chosen not to respond, the official added.
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The development comes against the backdrop of Pakistan's dwindling exports to Afghanistan. According to the data released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), the country's export of goods to Afghanistan dropped by 17.68 percent between July and December 2018 to $608.533 million against the exports of goods worth $739.233 million recorded during the same period in 2017.
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) recently said that Afghanistan's economic dependency on Pakistan has gone down following the establishment of new alternative trade and transit routes with a number of countries including an air corridor with India.
Earlier this month, India's Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj saidIndia would like "to organise a ‘dialogue on air corridors' with the participation of civil aviation authorities, air freight and aviation companies of India and Central Asia so that goods, including perishable items, can be transported efficiently and swiftly