Iran offers to send Indian Aid to Afghanistan; bypass troublemaker Pakistan

Iran has offered to transfer Indian wheat to Afghanistan. The proposal was made by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during his telephonic conversation with India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar. The conversation took place on Saturday (January 8) and came as India sent 3rd humanitarian support to Afghanistan after Taliban captured power in August 2021.Afghanistan was the key focus during the talks, both Indian and Iranian readouts confirmed.

Iranian readout said that Iran foreign minister “stressed the need to form an inclusive government in the country” and while referring to India’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, announced “measures and cooperation by Iran to transfer this aid in the form of wheat, medicine… to the country”.

Last week, India sent 2 batches of humanitarian aid to the country. First one was sent on January 1st and the second was sent on January 7th. The aid consisted of medical assistance. November 2021 saw India delivering 1.6 tons of medical assistance to Afghanistan through World Health Organization (WHO).

Tweet by EAM Jaishankar on the talks said, “discussed the difficulties of Covid, challenges in Afghanistan, prospects of Chabahar and complexities of the Iranian nuclear issue.”Future supplies to Afghanistan will be made via Chabahar port. The port has huge Indian investment. It was on December 24, 2018 that Indian company, India Ports Global Limited, a subsidiary of India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ) took over operations of the Chabahar port. Since December 2018 the port has handled 160 vessels, 14,420 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) and 3.2 million tons of bulk and general cargo.

Before the fall of Kabul, India has been sending relief to Afghanistan on a regular basis via the Chabahar port.India has committed to providing 50,000 MT of wheat, essential lifesaving medicines and Covid Vaccines to Afghan people. One of the proposals to send the supplies had been via Pakistan. While Islamabad has publicly stated it will allow movement of supplies, no transfer has started even as New Delhi and Islamabad continue to discuss the modalities of transfer.

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