Within hours of Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuring all help to the earthquake-affected people of Afghanistan, the first Indian Air Force (IAF) plane carrying relief material - tents, water, food, medicines - has landed in Kabul on Thursday to deliver help to the Afghans in their hour of crisis.
The government has dispatched 27 tons of emergency relief assistance in two flights for the people of Afghanistan, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday morning.
The relief consignment will be handed over to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) and Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) in Kabul. " The relief assistance consists of essential items including family ridge tents, sleeping bags, blankets, sleeping mats, etc,'' the MEA said.
Reiterating its support to Afghanistan, the MEA said, " As always, India stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, with whom we share centuries old ties, and remains firmly committed to provide relief assistance for the Afghan people.''
The earthquake has killed over 1,000 people and hundreds remain buried and trapped under debris across five provinces.
Along with the consignment an Indian team has also landed in Kabul. The team has moved into the Indian Embassy that remained open with local staff although India and Afghanistan don't have formal diplomatic relations since the return of the Taliban into Kabul in August 2021.
On Thursday, MEA spokesperson Arindam Baghchi had said more consignments of relief will follow:
The Indians landed within a day of the devastating earthquake and Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered all his help to the people of Afghanistan in their hour of crisis.
The team is part of the humanitarian assistance programme launched by India to “help the people of Afghanistan with whom India has historic and cultural relations.”
Prime Minister Modi had expressed his shock to the people of Afghanistan on this tragedy and assured all help:
It’s almost a month after a senior MEA official-led team had visited Kabul and met with the senior Taliban leaders.
The Taliban has hailed India’s efforts in helping the country with humanitarian aid including huge consignments of wheat, medicines, vaccines, and technical help in reopening its closed ports.
The Taliban leaders have openly suggested they would like to continue sending their Army for training to India. In their meeting with J P Singh, additional secretary MEA, who led the team last month, the Taliban leaders had asked India to continue work on their pending developmental projects in Afghanistan.
In the coming weeks, sources said, the visa consular section in the embassy could also be reopened to enable the Afghan students, patients, and others to fly to India.
The government has always maintained that India has historical and cultural relations with the people of Afghanistan and it’s to maintain these ties that India will always help the people of the country.
Sources said the “technical team will closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and in continuation of our engagement with the Afghan people.”
Sources said the J P Singh team had also assessed the security situation for Indians to operate on humanitarian projects in Afghanistan.
Sources in the government said, “our longstanding links with Afghan society and developmental partnerships including humanitarian assistance for the people of Afghanistan will continue to guide our approach going forward.”