New Delhi, India: Indian Wheat Diplomacy kicked off today when India flagged off its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan.
India will donate 1.1 million tonnes of wheat every year to Afghanistan for the next three years as part of Indian initiative to mitigate poverty in Afghanistan. Shipment would reach Afghanistan through Chabahar port of Iran.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a joint video conference with Afghan Minister of External Affairs Salahuddin Rabbani on Sunday before officially sending off wheat to Afghanistan.
Sources in Ministry of External Affairs are of the view that India agreed to donate wheat to Afghanistan on annual bases on the instruction of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who recently visited New Delhi. Sources maintain that US Secretary of State has directed Indian government to enhance cash and kind support to Afghanistan to consolidate Indian position among people of Afghanistan.
Sources in Ministry of External Affairs indicate that the government of Iran would not bill handling of wheat shipment through Chabahar Port as a goodwill gesture to India and Afghanistan.
According to an official statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, first huge shipment of wheat through Chabahar Port would test the capacity of the port to handle big consignments and will establish transit corridor between India, Afghanistan through Iran for future consignments.
It may be mentioned that India announced a support of $1 billion to Afghanistan this September as direct financial assistance to Kabul government.
Sources in Ministry of External Affairs indicate that a meeting of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will be held in Tehran in November this year for expanding Indo-Afghan corridor through Iran.