The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced that the Government of India has donated 1 million tons of wheat for Afghanistan, benefiting hundreds of thousands of Afghan children and transforming India into a donor nation. Officials of the Indian Government, making the largest single pledge in WFP’s history, said the first tranche of the donation – 40,000 tons – would be converted into 9,526 tons of high-energy biscuits destined for the WFP school feeding programme in Afghanistan. “We are pleased and proud to welcome India into our family of donors,” said WFP Executive Director James Morris. “This extremely generous donation is a significant achievement. “Moreover, the donation will enable WFP to move forward with an important investment in the future of Afghanistan – its young people,” Mr. Morris added. “The school feeding programme in Afghanistan is an excellent and inspiring start to our partnership with India. We look forward to developing this relationship so that a new source of food aid can benefit many other vulnerable people in that country.” With production of the biscuits about to start in three bakeries in India, WFP plans to distribute them to 1 million schoolchildren, most of them in rural areas. The school feeding programme will be fully operational by next March. In addition to the 1 million tons of wheat, the Government of India is contributing 15,000 tons of rice to WFP that will be used to offset the incidental costs of producing and distributing the biscuits. WFP said it faces a shortfall in its emergency operation in Afghanistan, a country facing a long road to rehabilitation after decades of war, drought and ill-fated policies of social engineering.