What’s in the news?
- Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla has flagged off a convoy of 50 trucks carrying 2500 MT of wheat as humanitarian aid for Afghanistan at the India-Pakistan integrated check post (ICP), the first of about 1000 truckloads which will head for Jalalabad over the next few weeks.
- The wheat is expected to be sent across Afghanistan to help people deal with the crisis caused by food shortages and an economic collapse after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, and was made in response to appeals made by the United Nations for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
- Traders and truckers in Amritsar also welcomed the trans-shipment, which is taking place after being suspended for nearly three years, and expressed the hope that the opening for Afghan aid would also lead to a reopening of India and Pakistan trade, whose closure has caused massive economic losses in the border town.
- Meanwhile commodities traders in Amritsar said the trade suspension that also followed India’s decision to cancel Pakistan’s MFN trading privileges in 2019 had led to massive losses for their earnings.
- They hope this is the first step to normalise trade relations between the neighbouring countries.
- Apart from wheat, India has already supplied 13 tonnes of essential medication and winter clothing, as well as 500,000 doses of COVAXIN to Afghanistan by commercial flights. Prior to the Taliban takeover, India had used the Chabahar port route through Iran to deliver a million tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan.