India gifts 2000 metric tonnes of rice to Syria to strengthen food security

New Delhi: India has gifted 2000 metric tonnes of rice to Syria with an aim to strengthen food security in the middle eastern country.

The first consignment of 1000 metric tonnes of rice was handed over by India Ambassador to Syria, Hifzur Rahman to the Minister of Local Administration and Head of Supreme Relief Committee Hussain Makhlouf on Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Friday.

The remaining 1000 metric tonnes of rice is expected to reach Syria on February 18. The rice is being supplied in response to a request from the Syrian government for emergency humanitarian assistance.

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“India and Syria have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations,” the statement read.

The Indian government, the ministry said, has always “stood in solidarity with the people of Syria, and our bilateral engagement has continued apace even during the years of internal conflict there through a number of development and capacity building projects”.

Syria’s civil war began during the Arab Spring in 2011 as a peaceful uprising against the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad. It has since escalated — shattering the lives of Syrians, destroying cities, straining global politics, and spurring diplomatic efforts that are constantly questioned as the world is witnessing the horrors of ongoing warfare.

Earlier, India had gifted 10 metric tonnes of medicines in July 2020 to Syria as part of Covid assistance.

Over 500 Syrians benefited from the artificial limbs (Jaipur foot) fitment camp organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in partnership with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) in Damascus during January 2020.

During the academic years 2018-19 and 2019-20, 1000 scholarships were extended to Syrian students for pursuing bachelors, masters and post-doctoral programmes in Indian universities under ‘Study in India’ initiative.

India is also establishing a NextGen Centre for Information Technology in Damascus, for which preparatory work has commenced, the ministry said.

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