‘Access to humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan should be direct, without hindrance’: India at UNSC
India is ready to deliver urgent humanitarian aid to Afghanistan
India on Wednesday supported a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution to grant exemption from sanctions for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. India said that access to humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan should be direct and without hindrance.
Explaining India’s vote on the UNSC resolution, Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations Ambassador TS Tirumurti said that as the largest regional development partner of Afghanistan, India is willing to coordinate with other stakeholders to work towards enabling expeditious provision of much needed assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
“The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is dire. We have seen reports that suggest that over half the population are facing crisis or emergency levels of acute food insecurity, urgent humanitarian assistance is required to meet the basic food needs of the people, and most of the country is going below the poverty threshold,” Tirumurti observed.
“The winter is already upon us. It is important that assistance be scaled up urgently and unhindered access be provided to the UN and other agencies,” he said.
“In this context, India has supported the call of the international community that access to humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan should be direct and without any hindrance,” the Indian Permanent Representative stated.
“Humanitarian assistance should be based on the principles of neutrality, impartiality, and independence and disbursement of the aid should be non-discriminatory and accessible to all, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or political belief,” he pointed out.
“In particular, the assistance should reach the most vulnerable first – including women, children and minorities,” Tirumurti added.
He, however, cautioned that the Security Council should equally exercise its oversight on the delivery of assistance as well as guard against any possible diversion of funds.
This is essential since any diversion or misuse can be counter-productive, the Indian envoy added.
Recalling that over the last two decades, India has contributed significantly to the development of Afghanistan, he said, India has just airlifted half a million doses of vaccines and 1.6 metric tonnes of life saving medicines.
“We are also in the process of sending more medicines and food grains. India is ready to deliver urgent humanitarian aid consisting of food grains and medicines to the people of Afghanistan,” Tirumurti informed.
India remains steadfast in our commitment towards humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, he said.
“We call on the international community and countries in the region to come together, rising above partisan interests,” the Indian envoy to UN said.
“As the largest regional development partner of Afghanistan, India is willing to coordinate with other stakeholders to work towards enabling expeditious provision of much needed assistance to the people of Afghanistan,” he stated.
Noting that the situation in Afghanistan is in a flux, Tirumurti said the expectations of the international community vis-à-vis Afghanistan were set out clearly in Security Council Resolution 2593.
“The Resolution lays down the requirements in terms of the fight against terrorism, where it has noted the commitment of the Taliban not to allow the use of the Afghan soil for terrorism, including from terrorists and terrorist groups designated under Resolution 1267,” he said.
“It also laid down the expectations of the international community in terms of an inclusive and representative political set up with participation of diverse political-ethnic groups in the country, and the importance of upholding human rights including those of women, children and minorities,” the Indian Ambassador to UN maintained.
He suggested that going forward, even as we cater to the immediate humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan, our approach to Afghanistan will be guided by the commitments expected from resolution 2593, and our long-standing friendship with the people of Afghanistan.