Narendra Modi Says India Will Co-operate With Afghanistan Despite All Odds

04/06/2016 4:05 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:27 AM IST
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Omar Sobhani / Reuters
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Afghan president Ashraf Ghani hold sweets as they inaugurate Afghanistan's new parliament building, which was built with the Indian government's financial assistance, in Kabul, Afghanistan December 25, 2015. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

HERAT -- India will extend cooperation to every part of war-torn Afghanistan despite facing barriers of politics, geography and terror attacks on its mission here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted today after inaugurating a landmark dam in strategically important Herat province.

In an address after inaugurating the Afghan-India Friendship Dam along with President Ashraf Ghani, Modi hailed the people of Afghanistan for denouncing terrorism and said division among them will only help those seeking to "dominate" the nation from outside.

"It was a war not of Afghan making, but it was one that stole the future of an entire generation of Afghans," the Prime Minister said, adding that the brave Afghan people are today sending a message that the forces of "destruction and death, denial and domination" shall not prevail.

When Afghanistan succeeds in defeating terrorism, the world will be "safer and more beautiful", he said.

The dam, earlier known as Salma Dam, has been built by India at a cost of Rs 1,700 crore on river Harirud in Chist-e- Sharif in western Herat neighbouring Iran. It will irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 MW of power.

"This dam has not been built by bricks and mortar, but by the faith of our friendship and the valour of Afghans and Indians. And, at this moment of pride, we also stand in grief and gratitude for lives sacrificed so that Afghan people will have a future they so richly deserve and so deeply desire," Modi said.

Resolving to stand by Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said India's cooperation will extend to "every part" of the war-torn country and that the partnership will benefit every section of Afghan society.

"In your clear eyes, I saw the deep well of affection for India. In your smiles, I saw the joy of this relationship. In the firmness of your embrace, I felt the trust in our friendship," Modi said in presence of Ghani.

In his around 25-minute-long speech, Modi touched upon the peace process in Afghanistan, the massive terrorist attack on Indian Consulate in Herat and reconstruction activities in that country and said Afghanistan's success is a deeply-held hope and desire of every Indian.

"It comes from the love and admiration for Afghans in our hearts. We want to see your democracy strike deep roots; your people unite; and, your economy prosper. We want to see your art, culture and poetry thrive. And, we want to see your cricketers join the ranks of test players and also seek glory in IPL.

"But, it also comes from the recognition that when Afghanistan succeeds, the world will be safer and more beautiful. When the values that define Afghans prevail, terrorism and extremism will be in retreat.

"Because we know that extremism and terrorism cannot stop at your border or end at the boundaries of our region," the Prime Minister said.

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