India in talks with Pak on modalities for sending wheat to Afghanistan

New Delhi, Jan 6 (PTI) India on Thursday said it was in touch with Pakistani authorities to finalise the modalities for transportation of 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistan.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said at a media briefing that India is committed to sending humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people.

“We are committed to supplying 50,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan. We are in talks with Pakistani authorities on finalising the modalities for the transportation of the shipment,” he said.

India had sent a proposal to Pakistan on October 7 seeking the transit facility to send 50,000 tonnes of wheat and life-saving medicines to the people of Afghanistan via Pakistani soil and it received a response from Pakistan on November 24.

On January 1, India supplied 500,000 doses of the Covaxin vaccine to the war-torn country and announced that an equal quantity of jabs will be sent in the coming weeks.

In December, India sent 1.6 metric tonnes of life-saving medicines to that country.

Asked about whether India has invited presidents of the five central Asian countries as the Republic Day chief guests, Bagchi did not give a direct reply.

“You are aware that announcements of this nature are made at a suitable time. We will share with you details once they are finalised,” he said.

The Gujarat government on Thursday decided to postpone the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

A number of foreign delegations were scheduled to attend it.

Asked about the ongoing unrest in Kazakhstan, Bagchi said the Indian Embassy in that country is closely monitoring the ongoing developments, particularly from the perspective of the safety and welfare of Indian nationals there.

He said assistance will be provided to any Indians in distress.

“For the moment we are not aware of any such incidents or situation,” he said.

Dozens of people have been reportedly killed in widespread violence in that country.

Asked about an anti-India campaign being carried out by vested interests in the Maldives, Bagchi said ties between the two countries remained strong and close.

He said India is committed to further strengthening relations with the island nation.

On the next edition of the two-plus-two defence and foreign ministerial dialogue with the US, he said India is looking forward to it.

“The details are still being worked out,” he said.