By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: On the occasion of the 73rd Independence Day of India, the country’s embassy hosted a reception on the occasion here in Kabul. Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah was the Chief Guest and the event was attended by Afghan politicians, diplomats, civil activists, journalists and culturists.
Addressing the gathering, the Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar spoke about the developments in India and India-Afghanistan relations, saying these seventy-three years have been momentous in the growth of India as the world’s largest democracy, as the world’s fastest growing economy, and as a unified, integrated nation.
“One of our great strengths and also our achievement has been in the field of strengthening of Indian democracy over the past seven decades. Democracy has not only been in the field of political arena but also in the social, economic and cultural aspects,” he noted.
Pointing to recent national election held in April-May 2019 in India, the ambassador said it was the largest ever electoral exercise in the human history with approximately 900 million eligible people attended the voting process. “The smooth transfer of power ensures the singular importance of common man of India as ‘the buck finally stops with him or her’. The intense campaign and the vibrant media along with an independent Election Commission, ensures that the will of the people is truly reflected in the governance of the country.”
The ambassador went on saying that Indian has made tremendous progress in several fields, adding one of the most significant achievement has been taking a huge population of India from abject poverty and illiteracy to a dignified life. “From the challenges of extreme poverty and underdevelopment that we were faced with immediately after independence, due to centuries of colonialism, India has followed a path of progress based on responsible and positive contributions to the international order.”
He said India today is one of the fastest growing major economy in the world and one of the most attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment. “We are happy to note that we have achieved significant progress in our economic relations with Afghanistan wherein we have billion US dollar plus trade. With the successful operationalization of regional connectivity like the Chabahar Port and air corridors, we are hopeful that our trade with Afghanistan will further increase.”
Ambassador Kumar said India is on its path to usher in a ‘New India’ by 2022. “It gives us great satisfaction that our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan are also putting in all their efforts to usher in a ‘New Afghanistan’. We look forward to a strong partnership with Afghanistan in the years and decades to come,” he added.
Hinting to India’s foreign policy, the ambassador said they have always followed a foreign policy which is embedded in the principle of peaceful co-existence, non-aggression and non-interference.
“India has been at the forefront of the fight against the menace of terrorism. The forces of terrorism only tear apart the social, cultural, economic and political fabric of the nation. India has for long espoused zero tolerance towards terrorism of all forms and manifestation. India has been for long at the receiving end of cross-border terrorism,” he said, adding theye have taken resolute action against terrorism and will continue to do so.
“We all know that Afghanistan faces huge challenges from terrorists and safe havens that the terrorist organizations have across the Durand Line. While India supports all peace efforts which are ‘Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled’, we are clear that a strong and undiluted voice against terrorism is the prerequisite for lasting peace in Afghanistan,” the ambassador added.
Ambassador Kumar said India has always had a privileged partnership with Afghanistan. “In fact, we always pride ourselves by saying that India is Afghanistan’s first strategic partner. Through our cooperation and collaboration with Afghanistan, we have not only invested in Afghanistan’s present but also in its future.”
The various programs related to capacity building, building of infrastructure, development partnership schemes, close people to people relations and above all very engaged relationship at the highest political levels, he added, saying India has always stood shoulder to shoulder with Afghanistan and contributed their bit for a peaceful, secure, inclusive and prosperous Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is undergoing significant challenges in its transformation decade. India stands ready to assist Afghanistan in their historic endeavor, including in the forthcoming presidential election.”
Concluding his remarks, the ambassador wished all Afghans a future that is peaceful and that holds a promise of harmonious existence. “We hope that the 100th year of Afghan independence ushers in a period of unprecedented peace, stability and progress for Afghans. We hope that India-Afghanistan friendship continues to prosper from strength to strength.”
Meanwhile Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah congratulated the 73rd Independence Anniversary to India to all Indian People, saying India has remained an important and strategic partner for Afghanistan. Thanking Indian support to Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah emphasized for enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries. At the end, a cultural troupe from Chaitra Dhariya (CD) Foundation put up an enthralling performance of Indian music, dance and textiles at the National Day Reception.