India Sends 3,000 Tonnes Wheat To Afghanistan, Total Food Aid Touches 33,500 Tonnes

India has also sent relief material to Afghanistan in multiple consignments following the earthquake this week that killed over 1,000 people.

Trucks carrying Indian wheat to Afghanistan

India on Saturday sent a shipment of 3,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan via the Pakistani land route as part of its humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people under the World Food Programme (WFP).

With the latest shipment, India has completed sending 33,500 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan in partnership with the WFP. 

"Our commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people remains steadfast," said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a tweet.

India had sent a proposal to Pakistan on October 7 seeking the land transit facility to send 50,000 tonnes of wheat to the people of Afghanistan and it received a positive response from Islamabad on November 24.Following the Pakistani response, both sides finalised the modalities for the transportation of the shipments.

India sent the first consignment of 2,500 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan on February 22 and it reached the Afghan city of Jalalabad on February 26. Fifty trucks carried the consignment.

India has been pitching for providing unimpeded humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country following the takeover of the country by the Taliban last year.

India has not recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has been pitching for the formation of a truly inclusive government in Kabul besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities against any country.  

On Thursday, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a "technical team" in its embassy in the Afghan capital. India withdrew its officials from the embassy after the Taliban seized power last August.

The MEA said, "In order to closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and in continuation of our engagement with the Afghan people, an Indian technical team has reached Kabul today and has been deployed in our Embassy there."

The wheat shipment also amid the crisis in Afghanistan after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed over a thousand people in the country. India was among the first countries to reach Afghanistan with relief material. Since the earthquake, India has delivered multiple consignments of releif material. 

"The relief assistance consists of essential items including family ridge tents, sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping mats, etc.The relief consignment will be handed over to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) in Kabul," said the External Affairs Ministry on Friday.

It added, "As always, India stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, with whom we share centuries old ties, and remains firmly committed to provide immediate relief assistance for the Afghan people."

(With PTI inputs)