India stands by Afghan people, provided it has unfettered access: Jaishankar
External affairs minister S Jaishankar made it clear at a UN meeting that India is ready to send humanitarian aid to Afghan people as in the past but it should have unrestricted access and the aid should be distributed to all sections of society. He said India had always stood and would stand with Afghan people but humanitarian aid should be unfettered.
He said only the United Nations had the capacity to monitor such endeavours and reassure donors.
Addressing a high-level meeting of the United Nations on the humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged country, Jaishankar called for the global community to help create the best possible enabling environment in the country.
Given the grave emerging situation in the neighbouring country, India was willing to stand by the Afghan people just as it had done in the past, the external affairs minister said. However, among the challenges that the current situation posed was that of efficient logistics, he added.
“It is therefore essential that humanitarian assistance providers are accorded unimpeded, unrestricted and direct access to Afghanistan. Once relief materials reach that country, the world will naturally expect a non-discriminatory distribution of humanitarian assistance across all sections of the Afghan society. Only the United Nations has the capacity to monitor such endeavours and reassure donors,” he said.
Guided by historical ties, India's friendship with Afghanistan was reflected in the development projects that had been undertaken in all 34 provinces of the country.
“In all, we have invested more than $3 billion for the welfare of the people of Afghanistan. We have undertaken 500 projects in critical areas of power, water supply, road connectivity, healthcare, education, agriculture and capacity building,” he added.
Jaishankar said India was monitoring developments with “understandable concern” in Afghanistan following its takeover by the Taliban. As the war-torn country was passing through a critical and challenging phase, there was an imminent threat of rising poverty levels and the same could have a catastrophic effect on regional stability, he added.