Ten thousand tonnes of Indian wheat reached Afghanistan’s western Herat province. On Monday, the World Food Program (WFP) posted a video of Indian wheat being unloaded from trucks in Herat.
The WFP said: “Wheat donated by the Government of India to WFP arrived in Herat where it was milled for distribution to hungry families across Afghanistan. This wheat is part of an in-kind contribution of 10,000 metric tons from India on top of 40,000 tons in 2022”.
Wheat donated by the Government of #India @MEAIndia @dpa_mea to @WFP arrived in Herat where it was milled for distribution to hungry families across #Afghanistan.
This wheat is part of an in-kind contribution of 10,000 metric tons from India on top of 40,000 tons in 2022. pic.twitter.com/wNrf3NJLlO
— WFP Afghanistan (@WFP_Afghanistan) July 3, 2023
India, in assistance with Iran, has opened up a new route to deliver humanitarian aid to a landlocked Afghanistan after Pakistan played tantrums in opening up a road route for the delivery of wheat to Afghanistan in 2021. After months of negotiations, the Imran Khan government eventually granted access in 2022 for Indian wheat trucks to cross Pakistani territory into Afghanistan.
It was soon after the Taliban stormed back to power in Kabul in August 2021 that New Delhi had announced assistance of 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan as the people were dealing with a severe food crisis – exacerbated not just by the decades-old conflict but also by the freezing of Afghan assets in Washington. The initial wheat consignments from India were flagged off by then Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Afghan ambassador Farid Mamundzay at the Attari-Wagah border through Pakistan.
Though India does not recognise the Taliban administration like most other nations, New Delhi has, however, kept its communication channels open with the group. It has also promised to provide food and medical aid to the Afghan people in a bid to stave off the hunger crisis that stares the nation in its face.
New Delhi has decided to keep the Indian mission running in Kabul with the help of a technical team.
External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar, said that it will continue to monitor the situation in the South Asian nation which is now ruled by the Taliban.
Talking about Afghanistan, the minister said: “… we have decided that we would maintain an embassy not at an ambassador level yet. A lot of other countries have done it, but I should tell you that a lot of countries have sent back their ambassadors, we have not done so, and we have focused on areas which we believe will impact the Afghan people and will be recognized by the Afghan people”.
India is also focused on finding a solution to the “Afghan issue” and has been in talks at the international level. It participated in the Oslo talks recently as well as in the UN-led talks with international powers in Doha, Qatar, besides holding security meets on Afghanistan with countries in the Central Asian Region (CAR) and Russia.