India provides 2000 tonnes of rice to war-torn Syria as humanitarian aid
India is gifting 2,000 tonnes of rice to Syria to strengthen food security, the latest in a string of measures to help the war-torn country where conflict and economic collapse over the past decade has left most of the population in poverty.
The rice is being delivered in response to a request for emergency humanitarian assistance from the Syrian government, the external affairs ministry said on Friday.
The first consignment of 1,000 tonnes of rice was handed over by Indian ambassador Hifzur Rahman to Hussain Makhlouf, Syria’s minister of local administration and head of the Supreme Relief Committee, at Latakia port on Thursday. The remaining 1,000 tonnes is expected to reach Syria on February 18.
The UN humanitarian office estimates that 80% of Syria’s population of 17.5 million currently lives in poverty, and civilians face a range of dangers, from instability, arbitrary detention and abduction, to criminality and activities of terror groups.
Earlier, India gifted 10 tonnes of medicines to Syria in July last year as part of Covid-19 assistance. More than 500 Syrian nationals benefited from a camp to fit the “Jaipur foot” artificial limbs that was organised by the external affairs ministry in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti in Damascus during January 2020.
During the academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20, a total of 1,000 scholarships were extended to Syrian students for pursuing bachelors, masters and post-doctoral programmes in Indian universities under the “Study in India” initiative.
India is also establishing a “NextGen Centre for Information Technology” in Damascus, for which preparatory work has begun.
“India and Syria have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations. The government of India has always stood in solidarity with the people of Syria, and our bilateral engagement has continued apace even during the years of internal conflict there through a number of development and capacity building projects,” the external affairs ministry said.