afghanistan: Pakistan to ‘favourably’ consider India’s request for delivery of wheat to Afghanistan – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: Pakistan PM Imran Khan said Friday Islamabad will favourably consider India’s proposal to deliver wheat to Afghanistan via the land route passing through Pakistan.
While India is yet to officially hear from Pakistan on the proposal, the announcement by Khan’s office is still significant as the assurance by the Pakistan PM comes in a meeting with the Taliban acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, in Islamabad. It also comes against the recent run of the play that saw Pakistan NSA Moeed Yusuf calling India a spoiler in Afghanistan and declining India’s invite to participate in the NSA conference held by India this week.
TOI had first reported on October 19 that India was looking to transport 50,000 MT to Afghanistan and was in touch with Pakistan to deliver it via the Wagah-Attari border.
“The Prime Minister conveyed that in the current context Pakistan would favourably consider the request by Afghan brothers for transportation of wheat offered by India through Pakistan on exceptional basis for humanitarian purposes and as per modalities to be worked out,’’ tweeted Pakistan PMO after Khan’s meeting with Muttaqi.
Former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan TCA Raghavan said land transport through Pakistan can set a good precedent for regional cooperation. “If the land transport through Pakistan takes place it would be helpful for Afghanistan and also set a good precedent for regional cooperation,’’ said Raghavan.
Pakistan had famously in 2002, when India was looking to help Afghanistan caught up in a similar humanitarian crisis, rejected India’s request for delivery of wheat to Afghanistan via the land border. It has since then rejected all such Indian requests.
After it approached Pakistan for facilitating the delivery of wheat, India had officially offered assistance to Afghanistan in a meeting with a Taliban delegation on the margins of the Moscow Format meeting in Moscow. While the Taliban announced almost immediately that India had offered assistance, a few days later the Taliban ambassador-designate to the UN, Suhail Shaheen, told TOI that Taliban was ready to accept aid from India and also to receive Indian diplomats and provide them security to carry out their normal diplomatic duties.
Since the NSA conference on Wednesday, Taliban have twice welcomed the meeting chaired by NSA Ajit Doval and said they want to have good diplomatic ties with India.
India remains one of the main suppliers of wheat to Afghanistan and had delivered 75,000 MT of the grain to Afghanistan in 2020 through the Chabahar port in Iran. The government wants the UN to monitor the distribution thoughto ensure it’s non-discriminatory.

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