After vaccines were delivered on the first day of the New Year 2022, India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced that wheat would be provided to Afghanistan in the “coming weeks.”
The MEA, in a statement, said, “In coming weeks, we will be undertaking the supply of wheat and the remaining medical assistance. In this regard, we are in touch with UN agencies and others to finalise the modalities for transportation. “
India has committed to providing the Afghan people with 50,000 MT of wheat, life-saving medications, and COVID vaccines.
Overland Pakistan was one of the options for delivering the supplies.
Despite the fact that Islamabad has publicly announced that it will facilitate supply flow, no transfer has yet taken place, even as New Delhi and Islamabad continue to debate the logistics of the transfer.
Meanwhile, India has been sending humanitarian aid to Afghanistan via Iran’s Mahan air as commercial cargo since the Taliban took control in August of last year.
The second batch of 500,000 doses of COVID vaccination (COVAXIN) was shipped from New Delhi to Afghanistan and was handed over to the Indira Gandhi Hospital in Kabul.
In the next few weeks, another batch of 500,000 pills will be delivered.
The ministry of external affairs in a release said, “The government of India has committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people consisting of food grains, one million doses of the COVID vaccine and essential life-saving drugs.”
Last month, India sent 1.6 metric tonnes of medicine to Afghanistan via Kam airway, the first such consignment under the Taliban regime. The support comes even as India and Afghanistan’s Taliban government have no formal ties, but New Delhi has publicly accepted that it has held talks with the group–one in Doha and another in Moscow. The Taliban has also admitted to having discussions with the Indian government.
When the first supplies came, the Taliban welcomed them. Abdul Qahar Balkhi, spokesperson of the Taliban foreign ministry, said, “We appreciate the arrival of two tonnes of Indian-assisted medicine to Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul.”
The same flight saw many Afghan Hindus and Sikhs coming to India, while 85 Afghan nationals stuck in India were reaching back to their homeland.