On Tuesday, the first shipment of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat from India was flagged off to Afghans via the Attari-Wagah land border crossing, with further food supplies and other humanitarian aid planned in the coming weeks.
The news: Officials said about 2,000 MT wheat will be sent in 41 Afghani trucks to the crisis-hit country. The process was carried out in the presence of Indian and Pakistani authorities, as well as representatives from the World Food Programme (WFP).
- A high-level meeting of officials of Land Port Authority of India (LPAI), Border Security Force (BSF), customs, Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and Punjab Police was held at the Integrated Check Post (ICP), Attari on Monday.
- The officials took stock of the arrangements which have been put in place to start the transportation.
The backstory: The shipment is being dispatched following weeks of negotiations between the Indian and Pakistani governments to finalise mechanisms for shipping wheat via Pakistani land routes.
- On October 7, India originally offered to transfer 50,000 tonnes of wheat across the Attari-Wagah crossing, and Pakistan responded on November 24. The two countries have been discussing the modalities since then.
- The Indian government has reached an arrangement with an Afghan logistics company to transfer empty vehicles to Attari via the Torkham border crossing (Peshawar). When Afghani trucks enter the ICP, customs authorities will conduct a thorough security inspection.
- The Afghan trucks will begin collecting wheat on Tuesday morning, according to a senior official of LPAI, which oversees the ICP Attari’s affairs. The entire procedure would take around a month, according to the official.
The Afghan authorities had provided the identities of the drivers, the types of trucks, the business that manufactured them, their capacity, registration number, and other papers with India’s foreign ministry.