India has shipped the first consignment of 5,022 metric tonnes (MT) of wheat - approximately 251 containers - to Afghanistan and plans to ship more in the days to follow. The move comes to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and ensure food security during the Coronavirus pandemic. The shipment sailed from Kandla to Chabahar port as of April 11 carrying a portion of the total 75,000 MT supplement of wheat, the Indian embassy in Afghanistan confirmed.
According to reports, the embassy of Afghanistan released a statement saying, “This humanitarian gesture of Indian people to our Afghan brethren will ensure food security during difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic.” Further acknowledging Delhi’s decision to supply HCQ it added, “India is gifting 500,000 tablets of HydroxyChloroquine to AFG for health professionals and COVID-19 positive cases.”
Afghanistan's Health Minister, Ferozuddin Feroz, had earlier expressed concerns about the country’s healthcare system in shackles that might fail to administer patients in case 80 percent of the population got infected. It sought help stating that at least 1,10,000 people in Afghanistan might succumb to the deadly COVID-19 disease. With at least 52 new cases of coronavirus reported within a day, Afghanistan stands at 607 confirmed cases, over 18 fatalities have been registered so far.
(1/2) 251 containers carrying 1st consignment of 5,022 MT of wheat out of total gift of 75,000 MT from India to Afghanistan set sail from Kandla Port to Chabahar Port today. The remaining consignments will follow in the weeks ahead. @MEAIndia @vkumar1969 pic.twitter.com/kDBGRSJ4jb— India in Afghanistan (@IndianEmbKabul) April 12, 2020
(2/2) This humanitarian gesture of Indian people to our Afghan brethren will ensure food security during difficult times of COVID-19 pandemic. India is gifting 500,000 tablets of HydroxyChloroquine to AFG for health professionals and COVID-19 positive cases.@MEAIndia @vkumar1969 pic.twitter.com/Ajjdjxk1Gm— India in Afghanistan (@IndianEmbKabul) April 12, 2020
India Ambassador to Afghanistan, Vinay Kumar, had announced earlier in a press conference that India would support Afghanistan and would 'gift' 75,000 metric tonnes of wheat. At least 13 countries would receive a consignment of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) export, including Afghanistan, he had said. HCQ is a “game-changer” drug in the treatment of coronavirus. India being a primary supplier, several countries requested the drug’s export. The Union government had lifted restrictions on the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients. Earlier, Foreign Minister of Maldives praised India for the export of the anti-malaria drug saying that "a friend in need is a friend indeed" on Twitter.
(With ANI inputs)