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Chabahar port attains key role in supplying aid to Afghanistan amid Covid-19 crisis

9 May 2020 13:50

Source : Hindustan Times

India has made a commitment to supply 75,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, of which 5000 tonnes was shipped via Chabahar last month, while another 10,000 tonnes was despatched to the Iranian port on Thursday, the people said.

Iran’s Chabahar port is playing a key role in India’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid and medical supplies to Afghanistan amid the Covid-19 crisis, people familiar with developments said on Friday.



“Chabahar port continues to be operational and this is our conduit for assistance to Afghanistan,” one of the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.



India has made a commitment to supply 75,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan, of which 5000 tonnes was shipped via Chabahar last month, while another 10,000 tonnes was despatched to the Iranian port on Thursday, the people said.



“Chabahar port is very much in use and it is coming in very handy when we are dealing with humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan,” the person said, adding India is now looking at the possibility of supplying more items needed by Afghanistan, such as tea and sugar, via the Iranian port.



The Iranian port, for whose development a tripartite agreement has been signed by New Delhi, Kabul and Tehran, was granted a waiver from US sanctions in view of its importance for Afghanistan.



India’s played constructive role in Afghanistan and its support for efforts for peace, reconciliation and development had figured in discussions in New Delhi on Thursday between Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special envoy for Afghanistan, and external affairs minister S Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.



“The US side’s expectation was that India would continue to play a positive role and India has to be a part of the process to effectively contribute to the process,” the person said.



India clearly conveyed its concerns regarding a recent surge in terrorist violence in Afghanistan and the role played by Pakistan-based terror sanctuaries during the meetings with Khalilzad.



Khalilzad’s short visit to India amid the Covid-19 crisis highlighted the “level of urgency” regarding the situation in Afghanistan and the discussions took in the gamut of developments in the war-torn country, including internal developments, the impact of the US-Taliban agreement and efforts aimed reconciliation between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah, the people said.



The Indian side highlighted the threat posed to Afghanistan by terrorism and the increase in attacks by the Taliban on security forces, as well as concerns about the impact of the violence on the Afghan constitutional set-up and on minorities such as Hindus and Sikhs, the people added.



At the same time, India and Iran have cooperated to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the people said. A total of 1,142 Indians, including pilgrims from Kashmir and Ladakh and students, were repatriated from Iran while more than 1,000 Iranians have been flown back from India. The Iranian side helped arranged treatment for some 300 Indians who tested positive for Covid-19, while India has provided medical assistance and medicines.