India is gifting 2,000 metric tonnes of rice to Syria following a request from the Arab republic, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Friday. The first consignment of 1,000 metric tonnes of rice was handed over by Indian ambassador to Syria Hifzur Rahman to Syrian Minister of Local Administration Hussain Makhlouf at Latakia Port on Thursday, the MEA said in a statement. The MEA said the remaining 1000 metric tonnes of rice is expected to reach Syria on February 18.
“In response to a request from the government of the Syrian Arab Republic for emergency humanitarian assistance, the government of India is gifting 2000 MT of rice to strengthen food security in Syria,” the MEA said. It said India has always stood in solidarity with the people of Syria, and its bilateral engagement has continued apace even during the years of internal conflict in that country. “India and Syria have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations,” a statement, issued by Ministry of External Affairs read, highlighting India’s effort to mitigate the food security deterioration in the war-torn nation. The deteriorating Syrian pound (SYP) and informal US exchange rates have also widely contributed to the economic and food crisis in Syria.
According to the World Food Programme and the Food Security Sector estimate, more than 7.9 million Syrians have been food insecure, which constitutes nearly 39 percent of the total population due to increased hostilities, and coronavirus pandemic. This has also led to dramatic inflation in food prices for the country.