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Indian wheat diplomacy in Afghanistan (Agricultural Diplomacy)

  • Published
    26th Feb, 2022
Context

In a significant diplomatic development, the first consignment of 2,500 metric tonnes of Indian wheat was carted from Attari to Kabul.

About

Need of such diplomacy:

  • Afghanistan is amidst a major food crisis as nearly 23 million Afghans—over half of the population—are facing extreme levels of hunger.
  • This wheat diplomacy presents New Delhi with the opportunity to establish direct communications with the Taliban regime in Kabul.
  • India’s investment in Afghanistan:
    • The 2011 India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement recommitted Indian assistance to help rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure.
    • Unlike in other countries where India’s infrastructure projects have barely started, it has delivered in Afghanistan.
    • India’s development assistance is now estimated to be worth well over $3 billion.
    • Bilateral trade is now $1.3 billion, with exports from India worth approximately $900 million

India’s stand on Taliban Regime:

  • India has abstained from recognising the Taliban government; but it has extended humanitarian aid amidst the ongoing food crisis.
  • Indian officials had previously acknowledged holding a diplomatic meeting with the Taliban in Doha.
  • India held first India-Central Asia summit in January, which resulted in the formation of a joint working group aimed at tackling the humanitarian emergency and the matter of Taliban recognition. This allowed India to have a role in shaping the view on Afghanistan and gain insights into the ongoing developments from various stakeholders. 
  • Although India has cautioned the international community to deliberate on the consequences of legitimising the Taliban regime, it has expressed its willingness to provide aid to Afghan citizens.
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