New Delhi: India on Tuesday sent the first shipment of 2,500 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan via Pakistani land route, over four months after announcing the humanitarian aid for the Afghan people.

In a ceremony held in Amritsar, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla along with Afghan Ambassador Farid Mamundzay and World Food Program Country Director Bishaw Parajuli flagged off the first convoy of 50 trucks carrying the consignment.

India had sent a proposal to Islamabad on October 7 seeking a transit facility to send 50,000 tonnes of wheat to the people of Afghanistan via Pakistani soil. It received a positive response on November 24.

Following this, both sides were in touch to finalise the modalities for the transportation of the shipment.

“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 will be handed over to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Jalalabad, Afghanistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

“In this regard, the Government of India signed an agreement with the WFP for the distribution of 50,000 MT of wheat within Afghanistan,” it said.

In a statement, the MEA said India remains committed to its special relationship with the people of Afghanistan.

“In this endeavour, India has already supplied 5,00,000 doses of Covaxin, 13 tonnes of essential lifesaving medicines and 500 units of winter clothing. These consignments were handed over to the World Health Organisation at the Indira Gandhi Hospital, Kabul,” it said.

The last consignment of medical supplies was delivered on Saturday. It was the fifth consignment of humanitarian aid to that country.

India has been pitching for providing unimpeded humanitarian aid to Afghanistan to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.

India has not recognised the new 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.

India has been concerned over the recent developments in Afghanistan.

It hosted a regional dialogue on Afghanistan on November 10 that was attended by NSAs of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The participating countries vowed to work towards ensuring that Afghanistan does not become a safe haven for global terrorism and called for the formation of an “open and truly inclusive” government in Kabul with representation from all sections of the Afghan society.

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