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Wednesday May 22, 2024

India fails to supply wheat to Afghanistan

New Delhi had earlier indicated that the supply of 50,000 metric tonnes of its wheat

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
January 24, 2022
Farmers at a wheat collection point. -File photo
Farmers at a wheat collection point. -File photo

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan is anxiously awaiting Indian wheat that has to reach Kabul via Pakistan but Indian authorities have failed to deliver the grain at the Pakistan border although Islamabad has generously offered facilitation to transit the grain in the interest of the Afghan people, who are suffering.

Reports said India has failed to give any schedule for the supplies so far, though the New Delhi had earlier indicated that the supply of 50,000 metric tonnes of its wheat would likely be transited from early next month. The offer was made in October last year.

Indian sources claimed that New Delhi has already signed contracts with Afghan transporters for thousands of trucks to pick up wheat from the Pakistan-India border and transport it to Afghanistan. The wheat would be then handed over to the United Nations (UN) agencies like the World Food Programme (WFP) for distribution in the country.

However, complicated logistics still needed to be streamedlined, which included ensuring a steady supply of wheat to the Pakistani border from Indian storage facilities. New Delhi is hopeful that these preparations are in the final stages, with the first supply about to start in early February.

The indication of an imminent commencement of the supply came against the backdrop of Pakistan re-stating that it was still awaiting a response from India on the modalities to start the deliveries.

“We have conveyed to India necessary details of arrangements put in place by Pakistan, and for about three weeks now, are awaiting further response from India on the date of dispatch and other information regarding the first consignment,” said Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson two days ago.

India had sent a proposal to Pakistan on October 07, 2021, seeking a transit facility to send 50,000 tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines to Afghanistan via Pakistani route. Pakistan on November 24, 2021, agreed to allow Afghan trucks to pick up wheat from the Wagah border.

Islamabad’s permission was necessary as Pakistan does not allow two-way trade between Afghanistan and India through its territory. Pakistan and India continue to have a tense relationship, with the lowest point in recent years being the cross-border airstrikes in 2019.