India dispatched wheat to Afghanistan on Tuesday to help alleviate food shortages after Pakistan gave permission to allow the shipments across their shared border.
Senior Indian government officials flagged off the first convoy of 50 trucks carrying 2,500 metric tons of wheat donated by India to Afghanistan at Attari in the northern state of Punjab, which shares the border with Pakistan.
The consignment was picked up by Afghan trucks at Attari which will take it to Afghanistan, said India’s Ministry of External Affairs.
“The shipment is part of the commitment made by the Government of India to supply 50,000 MT 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 said in a statement.
“I thank the Indian government for the generosity displayed at a time when more than 20 million Afghans are facing crisis or the worse levels of food insecurity in more than 3 decades,” Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, said.
The first shipment of wheat to Afghanistan came more than three months after India announced that it would send 50,000 tons of wheat and life-saving medicine to Afghanistan.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), half the population now faces acute hunger, over 9 million people have been displaced and millions of children are out of school.
Previously, the UN and its partners launched a $4.4 billion funding appeal to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan in 2022.
India has already supplied COVID-19 vaccines, 13 tons of essential lifesaving medicines and 500 units of winter clothing to Afghanistan.
In December, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry announced that it would allow transportation from India to Afghanistan via the Wagah border “on an exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes.”
Bilateral trade with India was suspended by Pakistan in 2019 after New Delhi stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status.