In response to the 2023 Herat earthquake, India has emerged as a significant contributor to the relief efforts in Afghanistan. Amidst a varied global response, India’s actions, including the dispatch of three batches of medical supplies and a pledge of 50,000 tons of wheat, underscore its commitment to humanitarian aid. This aid has been channeled both bilaterally and through international organizations like WHO and WFP.
The earthquake, which struck the Herat province on October 7, 2023, caused widespread devastation, claiming nearly 2,000 lives and affecting around 1.6 million people. The UNOCHA and other agencies have highlighted the urgent need for humanitarian assistance, estimating a funding requirement of USD 93.6 million.
India’s assistance extends beyond immediate relief efforts. Over the past two decades, India has invested over USD 3 billion in Afghanistan, supporting a range of sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education. These contributions have positioned India as a major developmental partner in the region.
However, it’s important to note that the geopolitical context, including strained Afghanistan-Pakistan relations, influences the dynamics of regional aid. Pakistan’s handling of the situation and its relationship with Afghanistan add complexity to the crisis. While highlighting India’s contributions, it’s essential to acknowledge the broader international efforts and challenges in the region.
In the wake of the Taliban’s return to power in August 2021, India has expressed its willingness to resume stalled projects, reflecting a focus on long-term stability and development in Afghanistan. Notable projects include the Shahtoot Dam and connectivity initiatives like the Chabahar project and the TAPI pipeline.
Indian contributions like the Afghan Parliament building, the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, and the Zaranj-Delaram highway have been significant. The establishment of the Delhi-Kabul Air Corridor further illustrates India’s commitment to maintaining direct trade links with Afghanistan.
Economists and experts in Afghanistan recognize the potential impact of resuming these projects, emphasizing their role in reducing poverty and unemployment, and fostering socio-economic development.
India’s role in Afghanistan, especially in times of crisis, has been appreciated by various stakeholders. Its approach aligns with its Neighbourhood First policy and reflects its commitment to regional stability and cooperation.
In conclusion, India’s response to the Herat earthquake and its ongoing support to Afghanistan demonstrate its commitment to humanitarian assistance and long-term development. While India’s role is significant, it’s part of a larger international effort to support Afghanistan during this challenging time.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Khaama Press News Agency. We welcome opinions and submissions to Khaama Press Opinions/Exclusives – Please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.