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optopolitics in Afghanistan

By Robinder Nath Sachdev & Dr. Anand Kumar Agnihotri

The title of this column today is inspired by the title of a piece that your author wrote way back in 2007, when the US-India civil nuclear deal was being negotiated. Therein I had argued that the US-India nuclear deal was not only about energy -- but that rather it was more a deal about "Atoms of Peace and Trust" between the United States and India.

Once the deal was done, there was a quantum jump in mutual trust between the two countries - and it marks a historic milestone of a hockey-stick curve upswing in US-India relations. Now, we are in 2021, and I invite you dear reader, to join me in a 5-minute read below, and let us sow seeds of hope and trust between India and Afghanistan.

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The children and people of Afghanistan are in midst of harshest conditions of hunger. According to reports, 95 per cent of the people in Afghanistan do not have enough food, and more than half of Afghanistan's 39 million people are "marching to starvation". With winter approaching, this onslaught will exact a cruel toll of human life in Afghanistan.

The world community must do its utmost to alleviate this hunger. While it is separately tackling the wider socio-economic-politico-security challenges of Afghanistan.

It is laudable that the Indian government, recognizing the gravity of the humanitarian crisis, and in empathy and sympathy with the children and people of a proud and war-torn nation, has offered to immediately donate 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains to Afghanistan.

Seeds of hope and trust

In above backdrop, the think tank Imagindia Institute, and the Lemonade Party, a global motivational movement with a motto to make lemonade when life gives you lemons, are urging that India could execute a masterstroke of innovation in food security for Afghanistan -- by doing just a tad little more than what it is already planning.

The suggestion is, India must add a block of 1,000 tonnes of "Seeds of Hope and Trust", in addition to the 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains that will be sent to Afghanistan. This extra 1,000 tonnes would be wheat-seeds that our Afghan brothers and sisters can sow, and keep reaping the benefits for several years.

Let us unpack the nuances and value of such a gift, below.

A gift that keeps giving -- seeds of hope and trust

While the 50,000 tonnes of wheat-grains from India that reach Afghanistan will be consumed within weeks or months, the additional 1,000 tonnes of the seeds of hope and trust will be a gift to the Afghan people that will keep producing about 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains, year on year.

Within 9 months of sowing, under Afghan conditions, the 1,000 tonnes of the wheat-seeds will produce a first crop of about 30,000 tonnes of wheat-grains. Out of these 30,000 tonnes, 1,000 tonnes would be kept aside as wheat-seeds to sow the next crop, and the balance 29,000 tonnes can be consumed.

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