Throwing a spanner in the works, Pakistan on Tuesday added conditions to the transportation of India’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan. Republic has learned that after ‘allowing’ India to transport 50,000 tonnes of wheat and medicines to war-torn Afghanistan, Pakistan has now added a condition that relief materials must only be moved by Pakistani trucks from the Wagah border.
India, which has been at the forefront of expressing support to Afghan civilians amidst the Taliban takeover is firm on sending its own trucks to the country to ensure that the financial aid reaches the beneficiaries directly. It has also expressed for its relief materials to be directly distributed by the United Nations (UN) officials stationed there.
However, Pakistan has attached several conditions to India’s aid forcing it to use Pakistani trucks and resulting in an impasse. Sources have revealed that the two sides are currently engaged in discussions over the blockage, with India keen on finding a quick resolution given the crisis in the country.
Pakistan adds conditions to Indian aid for Afghanistan
Republic has also learned that apart from forcing India to hire Pakistani trucks, the Imran Khan-led nation has also added several conditions to the shipment of the relief materials. Some reports have claimed that Pakistan is allegedly seeking shipment charges from India after forcing it to use its trucks.
On October 7, India had proposed shipping wheat and life-saving medicines to Afghanistan via Pakistan. Given that there are no direct flights between India and Afghanistan, requesting Pakistan was seen as the quickest option to help the war-ravaged country. However, India only received a reply from the Pakistan government on November 24, a response that has come with several clauses attached.
Meanwhile, External Affairs Ministry (EAM) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on November 26 said that the two nations were working on the modalities of the agreement. In a press briefing, he said, “This was about humanitarian access into Afghanistan for the delivery of the 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines we are supplying to the people of Afghanistan.” He added, “We are also working on the modalities with the Pakistan side. We believe that humanitarian assistance should not be subject to conditionalities.”