(File image: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on September 13, said that India was willing to stand by Afghans and, as an immediate neighbour, the country was monitoring developments in Afghanistan with "understandable concern".
"Today, I wish to underline that in the face of a grave emerging situation, India is willing to stand by the Afghan people, just as in the past. To ensure that this happened speedily and effectively, we believe that the international community must come together to create the best possible enabling environment," he said.
Addressing the UN high-level meeting on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, Jaishankar noted that the issue of travel and safe passage that can emerge as an obstacle to humanitarian assistance should be immediately sorted out.
"Among the challenges that the current situation poses is that of efficient logistics. It is therefore essential that humanitarian assistance providers are accorded unimpeded, unrestricted and direct access to Afghanistan," Jaishankar said.
The external affairs minister said once relief materials reach that country, the world will naturally expect a "non-discriminatory distribution of humanitarian assistance across all sections of the Afghan society".
"Only the United Nations has the capacity to monitor such endeavours and reassure donors. As the picture becomes clear in respect of the legitimate concerns I am confident that the world will step forward and assist the Afghan people in their hour of need," he said.
His comments came in the backdrop of apprehensions of whether the relief materials, once delivered, will reach the intended beneficiaries under the Taliban regime.
"Afghanistan is passing through a critical and challenging phase. There has been a sea change in its political, economic, social and security situation, and consequently, in its humanitarian needs," he said.