India Goes Out To Provide Wheat To Afghanistan
Afghanistan -Amidst the world having pulled their hands off Afghanistan as the Taliban tries to win everyone’s trust, India has come to their rescue. It is now providing a huge consignment of wheat to its neighbour which continues to find its foothold in governance and economic growth.
The country has been literally surviving on humanitarian aid for more than two decades. India has now committed approximately 50,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan on humanitarian grounds. To facilitate the same, Afghanistan would be making use of the Wagah border. Towards this, Pakistan has agreed to facilitate both Afghanistan and India in safe and duty-free transportation of the commodity. The shifting of wheat from Indian trucks to Afghan ones has begun today.
A convoy of 41 trucks have reportedly reached the Wagah border to offload the Indian wheat to be consumed in Afghanistan. According to border spokesperson “The 41 trucks, driven by Afghan drivers, were allowed to enter Pakistani territory at Torkham. After visa clearance and other legal formalities, the trucks moved towards Lahore under tight security provided by the respective district police of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and Punjab. The convoy reached Wagah by evening.”
While 60 trucks were expected, only 41 have arrived. Loading and offloading would take till the night, after which Afghanistan drivers would go through security clearance and then be allowed to go back.
According to USDA estimates, Afghanistan’s 2015 (USDA market year MY2015/2016) wheat crop was at 5.0 million metric tons. Production is down 25,000 tons, or 0.5 percent, from last year. The 5-year average is 4.26 million tons. Harvested area is estimated at 2.55 million hectares which is 10,000 hectares below last year. The first consignment is going to be of 10,000 tons to start with.
This has come through after months of negotiations with Islamabad to utilize the Wagah border for this purpose. In the last couple of months, India delivered large quantities of life-saving medicines and other supplies as part of its humanitarian aid to war-torn Afghanistan. The last consignment of medical supplies was delivered on last week. It was the fifth consignment of humanitarian aid to that country.