Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss a wide range of issues, including security and bilateral cooperation. PM Modi reached Afghanistan in the wee hours today after wrapping up his two-day Russia visit. The highlight of his visit to Afghanistan will be the inauguration of Afghanistan Parliament building in Kabul, built with the help of India.
Addressing the Afghan lawmakers after inaugurating the Afghanistan Parliament building in Kabul, he said, “Great Afghan people waged epic struggle of courage and resolve to shape their future with vote and debate not gun and violence”.
“Afghanistan with abiding faith in tradition of Jirga has chosen democracy against challenges that would have defeated lesser people,” PM Modi said, adding “The new Parliament building will stand as enduring symbol of ties of emotions and values, of affection and aspirations that bind us in special relationship”.
Coming down heavily on terrorism, the Prime Minister of India stressed that Terror and violence “cannot be the instrument to shape Afghanistan’s future or dictate the choices Afghans make”.
The Afghan Parliament building has been constructed by India at a cost of USD 90 million. The project, which was initially conceived at a cost of USD 45 million, was started by India in 2007 as a mark of friendship and cooperation to help rebuild Afghanistan.
Earlier, PM Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome as he landed in Afghanistan after which President Ghani warmly received him at presidential palace.
“A meeting between friends…President @ashrafghani warmly welcomes PM @narendramodi as they begin their meeting,” the Prime Minister’s Office shared on a micro-blogging site Twitter.
“From Russia to Afghanistan. A pre-dawn arrival in Kabul begins a day of engagements with another dost,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup said writing on Twitter.
Post his address at Afghan Parliament, PM Modi will be holding talks with other Afghan leaders, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai. The talks will be focused on key bilateral issues including security co-operation and the ways to help the war-torn country where India has committed over USD 2 billion assistance.
Significantly, prior to the Prime Minister’s visit, India has delivered three Mi 25 attack helicopters to Afghanistan. The defence aid to the Afghan government will boost its capability against Taliban terrorists.
(With inputs from the PTI)