After months of talks with Pakistan, India on Tuesday finally sent the first consignment of 2,500 metric tonnes of wheat in 50 trucks to the war-torn country of Afghanistan as part of humanitarian assistance by road through the Attari-Wagah border.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Ambassador of Afghanistan Farid Mamundzay flagged off the first consignment at a function in Amritsar on February 22, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement. The Country Director of World Food Program (WFP) to India, B Parajuli was also present on the occasion.
On February 12, the Indian government had inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the WFP for the distribution of wheat within Afghanistan.
“The shipment is part of the commitment made by the Government of India to supply 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat for the people of Afghanistan. The wheat assistance will be delivered in multiple consignments and handed over to the UN World Food Programme in Jalalabad, Afghanistan,” the MEA said.
“In this regard, the Government of India signed an agreement with the WFP for the distribution of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat within Afghanistan,” it said in a statement.
Expressing its gratitude to India and its people for the assistance at a time when the country was facing a food shortage, the Afghan embassy said the remaining consignments are expected to be shipped in a month.
“Truly an honour to witness the flagging off ceremony of India’s wheat assistance shipment to Afghanistan at Attari today; 50,000 metric tonnes or more than 2,500 trucks of wheat is one of the largest food contributions done by any country to support Afghanistan in this difficult hour,” Mamundzay tweeted.
The MEA said India decided to “gift” the wheat to the people of Afghanistan in response to appeals made by the United Nations for humanitarian assistance to that country.
On January 1, India had supplied 5 lakh doses of anti-Covid vaccine, Covaxin to Afghanistan and announced that an equal number of jabs will be sent in the coming weeks. India had sent 1.6 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines to Afghanistan in December as well.