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Differences with Islamabad over modalities holding up transportation of Indian wheat for Afghanistan

Differences with Islamabad over modalities holding up transportation of Indian wheat for Afghanistan

Islamabad, Nov 29 (UNI) Some differences appear to have cropped up over modalities for transportation of the 50,000 MT of wheat from India for Afghanistan, with Pakistan reportedly insisting that the consignment be transported via Pakistani trucks under the UN banner, a news report said.
The Express Tribune of Pakistan, quoting sources said both sides are trying to work out a common strategy for sending the humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people, and that some solution is likely to be arrived at within this week.
The daily, quoting sources, said Pakistan has proposed to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad that the wheat consignment be loaded on to Pakistani trucks to be operated by the United Nations at the Wagah border and be taken to Afghanistan.
India has said that the wheat should be transported either in Indian or Afghan trucks.
India has insisted that no conditions should be attached to the humanitarian assistance being sent for Afghanistan.
The shipment charges would be paid by the Indian government. India has to complete the transportation within 30 days of the commencement of the first shipment. It is estimated that about 1,200 trucks would be needed to ship 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat, it said.
On its side, Pakistan is insisting that the shipment be carried out by Pakistani trucks under the UN banner.
However, both sides are likely to work out a common ground and some decision is expected this week, the daily said.
Last Friday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi at a media briefing had said that they are examining Pakistan’s response to its proposal for allowing transit to trucks carrying 50,000 MT of wheat and life-saving medicines from India for Afghanistan and added that “humanitarian assistance should not be subject to conditionalities”.
“We are examining the response of the government of Pakistan, we are also working on the modalities with the Pakistan side. We believe that humanitarian assistance should not be subject to conditionalities.”
He said that India had sent its proposal for allowing transit to the wheat consignment on October 7, and received a reply only this Wednesday (November 24).
“...This was about humanitarian access into Afghanistan for the delivery of 50,000 MT of wheat and life-saving medicines we are supplying to the people of Afghanistan,” he said.
Earlier that day, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in his remarks at the Russia-India-China foreign ministers meeting, said that India has offered the supply of 50,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan and called on the RIC countries to work together to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people “without hindrance and without politicization”.
Islamabad last week agreed to allow transit to Indian trucks carrying the wheat only after top officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan personally interceded with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to allow access through his country for the humanitarian assistance.
Imran Khan said he would allow the Indian wheat to pass through “on exceptional basis”.
UNI/RN

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