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India Finally Allowed to Send Wheat to Afghanistan via Pakistan

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced one month after India offered humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan that his government would allow the aid to pass through Pakistan via land. India had already expressed its displeasure with Pakistan's delay in granting help, most notably during the 8-nation Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan in New Delhi, which concluded with a proclamation calling for 'unimpeded' assistance.

Abin Joseph
Indian Food Convoys To Afghanistan
Inidian Food Convoy To Afghanistan

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan announced one month after India offered humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan that his government would allow the aid to pass through Pakistan via land. India had already expressed its displeasure with Pakistan's delay in granting help, most notably during the 8-nation Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan in New Delhi, which concluded with a proclamation calling for 'unimpeded' assistance. 

According to a declaration made by the Pakistani PM’s office Imran Khan the Prime minister of Pakistan has finally decided to allow the 50,000 Metric tonnes of wheat India has offered to provide Afghanistan as humanitarian assistance to go through Pakistan as soon as modalities are finalised with the Indian side 

Khan, who presided over the inaugural Apex Committee meeting of the newly formed Afghanistan Inter-ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) in Islamabad, also used the occasion to remind the international community of its joint obligation to assist Afghanistan in avoiding a humanitarian disaster. 

During the meeting, Khan announced Pakistan's resolve to enable the 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat India has volunteered to supply Afghanistan as humanitarian aid to pass through Pakistan as soon as arrangements with the Indian side are finalised, according to state-run Radio Pakistan. Pakistan now permits Afghanistan to sell products to India but not any other two-way commerce through the border crossing. Last month, India promised 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan and asked Pakistan to transfer the food grain over the Wagah border. 

Afghanistan's Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had also asked Prime Minister Khan to enable India to deliver wheat via Pakistan, implying that the Taliban regime was prepared to accept India's humanitarian help. India has contributed to the Afghan people's humanitarian needs. Over the last decade, this includes supplying more than 1 million metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan. 

 Pakistan's announcement has yet to receive a response from the Ministry of External Affairs. Arindam Bagchi, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said on November 11 that India was looking into all options for transferring the help, "but there have been difficulties due to lack of unimpeded access."Officials declined to comment when asked why India did not send the supplies through Iran's Chabahar port to the Afghan border, as it has done in recent years, but hinted that the route would be too tortuous given the acute need in Afghanistan. 

Last year, India sent 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, according to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who spoke at the United Nations High-Level Meeting on the Humanitarian Situation in Afghanistan in September. 

However, there have been claims that Pakistan has thwarted India's efforts to deliver wheat to the Afghan people, owing to the deterioration of relations between New Delhi and Islamabad over the Kashmir problem. According to Radio Pakistan, Khan also ordered the urgent shipping of humanitarian aid worth Rs 5 billion to Afghanistan, which includes wheat, essential medical supplies, winter shelters, and other supplies. 

He directed all departments to assist Afghans to the greatest extent possible, and he also agreed in principle tariff and sales tax reductions on vital Afghan exports to Pakistan. 

Khan directed that the free Covid immunisation programme for all Afghans entering Pakistan through land borders be maintained. Dr Moeed Yusuf, National Security Adviser and Convener of AICC, presented a thorough presentation to inform the civil and military leadership on Afghanistan's current economic condition and AICC's success in coordinating national efforts for humanitarian aid and border facilitation for Afghans. 

Khan also directed the National Security Adviser to travel to Afghanistan to attend delegation-level meetings and agree on particular areas where Afghans would get rapid capacity-building assistance. 

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and top civil and military leaders attended the meeting. 

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