IRAN has offered to help India in the transportation of aid to Afghanistan, which includes wheat, medicines and coronavirus vaccines.
Afghanistan, which has Iran to its west, has been reeling under a serious humanitarian crisis after the Taliban stormed back to power in Kabul in August last year.
The offer to India was made by Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian during a telephonic conversation with his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Saturday (8), according to the West Asian country’s foreign ministry.
“Regarding Afghanistan, Amir-Abdollahian stressed the need to form an inclusive government in the country. He also referred to India’s humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, announcing measures and cooperation by the Islamic Republic of Iran to transfer this aid in the form of wheat, medicine and Covid-19 vaccine to the country,” it said in a statement.
Iran and Afghanistan share a 920 kilometre (572 miles) long border.
India has so far sent three separate consignments of life-saving drugs and Covid vaccines to Afghanistan. While the first one was sent on a return special chartered flight that brought 104 people from Kabul to New Delhi, the other ones were sent via a flight of Iran’s Mahan Air.
However, New Delhi is yet to provide 50,000 tonnes of wheat that it promised to Kabul as modalities for transporting the aid to the violence-torn nation through Pakistan are yet to be finalised.
There is also an option for India to send aid to Afghanistan via the Chabahar port in Iran which is being developed by New Delhi and Tehran to boost trade ties.
The freezing of non-humanitarian funding by Afghanistan’s major donors after the Taliban’s return to power has left the country under severe economic crisis which has made its humanitarian crisis worse.
“A wide-ranging conversation with my Iranian colleague, FM @Amirabdolahian. Discussed the difficulties of Covid, challenges in Afghanistan, prospects of Chabahar and complexities of the Iranian nuclear issue,” Jaishankar tweeted on Saturday.
A wide ranging conversation with my Iranian colleague, FM @Amirabdolahian .
Discussed the difficulties of Covid, challenges in Afghanistan, prospects of Chabahar and complexities of the Iranian nuclear issue.
The Iranian foreign ministry said Jaishankar also referred to his country’s assistance to Afghanistan and that India’s policy on that country remained the same.
The Iranian foreign ministry said Amir-Abdollahian exchanged views with his Indian counterpart on key bilateral, regional and international issues.
“In response to the Indian foreign minister’s question about the latest situation in the fight against coronavirus in Iran, Amir-Abdollahian referred to the good trend of the nationwide vaccination in the Islamic Republic,” it said.
India has been in touch with Iran over the developments in Afghanistan under the Taliban.
The Iranian national security adviser (NSA) attended a regional conclave that India organised in November on the situation in Afghanistan. The NSAs of Russia and the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also took part in it.