The Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Hyderabad Muhammed Suleman Kakar shares future plans to improve India – Afghanistan relations and to further trade and import amazing Afghani handicrafts, fruits, especially the popular pomegranate to Hyderabad in near future. In the wake of opening the new Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Hyderabad, the common capital of Telangana and Andhra, in January, he met the media and revealed plans to organise an Afghani food festival in association with a hotel in the first week of April, to begin with. “We have wonderful cuisine, and I hope to bring some of the famous dishes to Hyderabad. We will be bringing a chef from Afghanistan. We will also try and bring cultural ambassadors to interact with people here,” he shares during an exclusive interview with Fridaywall. A similar festival was successfully held in New Delhi recently in association with CD Foundation.
Extracts from the interview
What are your plans for cultural exchange between the two countries?
We want to focus on the exchange of culture. We plan to conduct cultural programmes and we will also be having a food festival soon in Hyderabad. Through culture, we want to bring people together and create better understanding. Even trade would be a problem without this understanding. Music is another medium of exchange. And, sports is one more area. Our cricketer Rashid Khan plays here and is already popular.
From total destruction to now being in a position to promote tourism, Afghanistan has come a long way!
We have rebuilt our nation from scratch, everything was devastated from playground stadiums to schools and buildings. The last couple of decades saw much development in terms of infrastructure and security. Since then, there has been a lot of achievement thanks to the support from countries like India.
We have rebuilt our nation from scratch, everything was devastated from playground stadiums to schools and buildings. The last couple of decades saw much development in terms of infrastructure and security.
We are waiting to show the world the many beautiful sites in Afghanistan easily accessible with good transport connectivity. There are different attractions for different people. There is Herat Mazar and the beautiful Buddhas of Bamiyan in Central Afghanistan that Indians will like to visit. In winter there’s skiing, we have a very beautiful landscape and so many historically important cities like Kandahar and Kabul.
There are eight regions in Afghanistan and each has a distinct style of handloom and handicraft, We plan to bring our craft and fashion to Hyderabad. Our fashion designers always look towards Paris and New York to export their collections. In order to open their eyes to India as a destination to find takers for their designs, we organised a fashion show in New Delhi. We hope to do many such collaborative events in Hyderabad we well.
What is the state of women in Afghanistan?
Women have a large number of seats in the parliament. There are women in many high-ranking positions, ministers, deputy ministers, and there are many women entrepreneurs and journalists who exercise their freedom of speech. They are given opportunities and training for capacity building. There is enough support for their education in the country and outside. There are already students including girls who study in India either sponsored or self–financed. Some of them are in Hyderabad as well.
What is the major challenge you foresee in your way to improve trade?
The biggest challenge is that we do not have a common border, and to bring goods is a matter of going through other countries. We are looking forwards to the Chabahar port being jointly developed by Iran, Afghanistan, and India that allows goods and commodities to be transported from our country, easily.