India sends 3 tonnes of medicines as fourth tranche of aid to Afghanistan

Published on Jan 29, 2022 09:06 PM IST

India had earlier supplied 3.6 tonnes of medicines and 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Afghanistan. An offer to provide 50,000 tonnes of wheat via land routes passing through Pakistan has been held up since October last year as Islamabad is yet to finalise the modalities for shipping the grains.

The UN has said about 23 million Afghan people are in a state of humanitarian emergency, and UNICEF estimates more than one million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and hunger-related disease in Afghanistan. (AFP PHOTO.)
The UN has said about 23 million Afghan people are in a state of humanitarian emergency, and UNICEF estimates more than one million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and hunger-related disease in Afghanistan. (AFP PHOTO.)

India on Saturday supplied three tonnes of life-saving medicines to Afghanistan, the fourth tranche of aid since last month to help the Afghan people cope with a growing humanitarian crisis that has been compounded by a harsh winter.

The medicines were handed over to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Kabul, the external affairs ministry said. “In the coming weeks, we would be supplying more batches of humanitarian assistance consisting of medicines and food grains for the people of Afghanistan,” the ministry said in a statement.

India had earlier supplied 3.6 tonnes of medicines and 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines to Afghanistan. An offer to provide 50,000 tonnes of wheat via land routes passing through Pakistan has been held up since October last year as Islamabad is yet to finalise the modalities for shipping the grains. India has also pledged to send another 500,000 doses of vaccines in the coming weeks.

“India stands committed to continue our special relationship with the people of Afghanistan and provide humanitarian assistance. In this endeavour, we had already supplied three shipments of medical assistance, consisting of 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine and essential life-saving medicines to Afghanistan,” the statement said.

All these supplies were handed over to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a media briefing on Friday that the Indian government is committed to provide humanitarian aid, including food grains, Covid-19 vaccines and life-saving medicines, to the Afghan people.

“The process to procure the wheat and to arrange its transportation is currently underway. Naturally, this takes some time,” he said, referring to the offer to supply 50,000 tonnes of wheat.

The Taliban, whose regime in Kabul has not been recognised by New Delhi, have so far welcomed the aid provided by India. The group’s Twitter accounts and spokesmen have expressed gratitude for the assistance.

The UN has sought close to $8 billion dollars for humanitarian activities in Afghanistan during 2022, including $4.4 billion in additional humanitarian assistance. The UN has said about 23 million Afghan people are in a state of humanitarian emergency, and UNICEF estimates more than one million children are at risk of dying from malnutrition and hunger-related disease.

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