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India wheat aid to Kabul starts at Attari today

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India wheat aid to Kabul starts at Attari today

  • Four-and-a-half months after India proposed to Pakistan that it wants to send wheat for the people of Afghanistan, the first consignment of about 2,000 metric tonnes of the grain, laden in about 50 trucks.
  • They will be taken to Afghanistan overland through Pakistan in Afghan trucks, which will pick up the consignments at Attari in Punjab.

About

  • Officials said the task of moving 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan would require more than 1,200 trucks via Pakistan.
  • The logistics suggest that Indian trucks would require the wheat to be unloaded, and loaded again into Afghan trucks, at the Zero Point on the Wagah-Attari border.
  • In 2020, India assisted Afghanistan with 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said at the UN High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian situation in Afghanistan in September 2021.
  • On several occasions, India has expressed willingness to send humanitarian aid to the people of Afghanistan, though it has cautioned the international community to think through the consequences of granting recognition to the Taliban regime.

Significance

  • It is a significant diplomatic development where India and Pakistan are coming together to help the people of Afghanistan.
  • India doesn’t recognise the Taliban regime in Kabul.
  • This is the first tranche of 50,000 tonnes of wheat India has committed to send to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country in mid-August.
  • This follows a pact between India and the World Food Programme, signed earlier this month to supply foodgrain to Afghanistan as a humanitarian gesture.

India’s Presence In Afghanistan

  • Barring a brief pause in the 1990s, India has historically enjoyed good ties with Afghanistan, which go back to the 1950 Treaty of Friendship.
  • Indian interests and influence suffered when the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, captured Kabul in 1996.
  • But India was back in action as soon as the Taliban were ousted from power after the US invasion in 2001.
  • India has made huge investments and commitments ever since, which run into over USD 3 billion and cultivated strong economic and defence ties with the Afghan government.

United Nations World Food Programme

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organisation saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
  • It was founded in 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
  • It is also a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), a coalition of UN agencies and organisations aimed at fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The WFP assists 88 countries and has assisted 97 million people (in 2019) which is the largest number since 2012.
  • The WFP has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.

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