India to stand by Afghanistan people: EAM Jaishankar calls for humanitarian aid through UN

India is willing to stand by the Afghan people, as in the past, said Indian EAM Jaishankar during a high-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

EAM Jaishankar, Source: ANI
EAM Jaishankar, Source: ANI

India-Afghanistan Relations: India is willing to stand by Afghan people, as in the past, said Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishankar during a high-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on September 13, 2021. “India’s own approach to Afghanistan has been guided by historical friendship with its people. This will continue to be the case. Even in the past, we have contributed to the humanitarian needs of that society,” said EAM Jaishankar.

India called for ‘non-discriminatory' and direct distribution of humanitarian assistance through the United Nations (UN) to Afghanistan during its critical phase. Jaishankar highlighted the need for giving humanitarian assistance providers unimpeded, unrestricted, and direct access to Afghanistan.

As an immediate neighbhour, India is keeping a tab on the situation in Afghanistan very closely. Jaishankar noted that the international community must come together to create the best possible enabling environment. Ensuring efficient logistics is among the many political, social, economic, and security challenges the country faces right now.

Jaishankar noted that once the relief materials reach Afghanistan, a non-discriminatory distribution of humanitarian assistance across all sections of the Afghan society will be expected. However, there are a host of apprehensions that if the relief materials will reach the intended beneficiaries under the Taliban rule.

Jaishankar advocates ‘central role’ of UN in dealing with humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan: Why?

India and other countries are not fully convinced of sending humanitarian assistance directly to the Taliban following their takeover of Afghanistan on August 15, 2021. Therefore, several countries have called for sending aid through the UN and international bodies.

Jaishankar during the meeting said that India has consistently advocated a central role for the UN in handling the Afghanistan crisis. Only the UN is capable of monitoring such huge humanitarian assistance and reassure donors. A multilateral platform is always more effective than small groups of countries in building global consensus and encouraging united action, he noted.

Jaishankar noted that UN Security Council Resolution 2593 should be the guiding tool for the international community in managing the situation in Afghanistan. The UNSC resolution 2593 was adopted on August 30, 2021, under the Presidency of India at UNSC. The Resolution demanded that Afghanistan should not be used to attack or threaten any country or shelter or train terrorists and plan or finance terrorist attacks.

Also read: Afghanistan crisis: PM Modi forms high-level group, UNSC adopts resolution on Taliban under India’s presidency

Normalization of commercial operations to accelerate humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan

Jaishankar noted that the normalization of regular commercial operations at Kabul airport would help in accelerating the assistance efforts to Afghanistan. The issue of safe passage and travel can pose an obstacle to humanitarian assistance. Those who wish to travel to and from Afghanistan should be granted permission.

Imminent threat of poverty level rising from 72 to 97 per cent in Afghanistan

Referring to a UNDP report, Jaishankar noted that 97 per cent of the population of Afghanistan is at risk of falling below the poverty line unless a solution to the political and economic crisis in the war-torn country is launched immediately.

Also read: Afghanistan: 12.2 million people acutely food insecure, says UN

India's contribution to the humanitarian requirements of Afghanistan in the past

In the past, India has provided one million metric tonnes of wheat over the past 10 years. In 2020, India has assisted Afghanistan with 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat. India also partnered with World Food Programme for distributing high protein biscuits to support vulnerable school-going children of Afghanistan.

India has invested more than $3 billion towards the welfare of the people in Afghanistan. India has undertaken 500 projects in Afghanistan in critical areas of water supply, power, education, road connectivity, agriculture, healthcare, and capacity building.

Also read: What is ISIS-K? Terror Group who claimed responsibility for Kabul Bombings, How is it connected with Taliban?

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