Indian biscuits for Afghan schoolchildren via Pakistan: UN welcomes move

November 8th, 2008 - 2:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghUnited Nations, Nov 8 (IANS) The World Food Programme of the UN has welcomed India’s decision to donate $12 million for distribution of biscuits to 1.2 million schoolchildren in Afghanistan, to be transported through Pakistan.The fortified biscuits, to be produced in India, will be shipped to Afghanistan through Pakistan, Michele Montas, spokesperson for UN Secretary General, told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York Friday.

“This marks a major transportation breakthrough, opening a new route for humanitarian aid from India to Afghanistan,” Montas said.

It is one of the rare occasions when Pakistan has allowed its territory for transportation of Indian relief material to Afghanistan.

Pakistan, which has been wary of the strengthening relationship between India and Afghanistan, has mostly denied permission of transportation of such goods and relief material.

Most of the time, Indian goods are routed through Iran, Middle East or Central Asia; thus making the whole process more expensive.

UN diplomats believe the new measure could be considered as a positive step towards improving India-Pakistan relations and a result of the talks between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in New York in September on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly.

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