To build the momentum of the new phase of a development partnership between India and Afghanistan announced in September 2017, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan came visiting India on a top day official visit and met with the President of India and the Prime Minister of India.
Welcoming Dr. Abdullah to India, President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, at Rashtrapati Bhavan said that India considers him a very close friend. We admire the selfless leadership that he has given Afghanistan through difficult times. The President said that India considers Afghanistan not just a strategic partner, but a country very close to our hearts. “People to people exchanges have provided a very strong foundation to India-Afghanistan relations. Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Kabuliwala’ resonates in the heart of every Indian. Every Indian instinctively trusts a person from Kabul,” he said.
The President further said that India deeply respects the supreme sacrifice made by the Afghan National Defence and Security forces to fight the forces of terror. We are indebted to them for ensuring security of Indians and of our Mission and Consulates in Afghanistan. India strongly condemns the acts of cross border terror perpetrated against the people of Afghanistan. There is no doubt that the people of Afghanistan have suffered for a long time. Generations have been lost to terrorism. We empathise with their yearning for peace. We stand with the Government and people of Afghanistan in their quest for peace, stability and prosperity.
“Both sides are embarking on new generation development projects aimed at supporting socio-economic development in Afghanistan. India will continue to support Afghanistan in all possible ways,” he added.
Likewise in the meeting Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, had with Prime Minister Narendra Modi- both leaders reaffirmed the strength and closeness of the multifaceted strategic partnership between India and Afghanistan. They welcomed the accelerated cooperation, including through the recent announcement of a New Development Partnership during the meeting of the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council in New Delhi. They discussed enhancing bilateral economic and development cooperation and the abundant opportunities in this regard.
The two leaders exchanged views on the security environment in Afghanistan and the extended region, and, in this context, agreed to continue close coordination and cooperation. An MoU for Technical Cooperation on Police Training and Development was exchanged in the presence of the two leaders at the conclusion of the meeting. Also, the Prime Minister deeply appreciated the mosaic portrait prepared by an Afghan master craftsman, which was presented to him by Dr. Abdullah.
Dr. Abdullah conveyed Afghanistan’s deep appreciation for India’s continuing support for infrastructure development and capacity building in Afghanistan. here, Prime Minister reiterated India’s commitment to extend full support to Afghanistan’s efforts for building a peaceful, united, prosperous, inclusive and democratic Afghanistan.
News Update | Three day India-Afghan Cultural Festival inaugurated
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Culture, Mahesh Sharma and Minister of Culture and Information of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Rasool Bawari inaugurated the India-Afghan Cultural Festival in New Delhi on 28 November 2017. The Festival has been jointly organised by the Government and Embassy of Afghanistan along with the Government of India and ICCR.
Speaking on the occasion, Mahesh Sharma said that India and Afghanistan enjoy age old cultural and civilaisational ties and the deep-rooted linkages in the fields of music, art, architecture, language and cuisine constitute an important bond of friendship between the people of the two countries.
While exponents of Afghan classical music such as Ustad Sarahang were trained in the Patiala Gharana, the popular Indian music of bollywood resonates in Afghan homes, Dr. Mahesh Sharma explained. The central Bamyan province of Afghanistan is an epitome of our shared Buddhist heritage, he added. Mahesh Sharma said that Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore’s ‘Kabuliwala’ has connected Indians with the honest and large-hearted Afghans.
Highlighting the common values shared by the two countries, the Indian Culture Minister said that the four Gurudwaras and the two temples in Kabul itself are testament to tolerant and diverse society of Afghanistan. Emphasising the developing partnership being extended by India for the people of Afghanistan, Mahesh Sharma said that Restoration of Afghan cultural heritage and strengthening its cultural institutions has been an important part of our support in reconstruction of Afghanistan. The restoration of Storay palace in Kabul and support to the Afghan National Institute of Music are a few such examples, the Minister added.
Mahesh Sharma said that the India-Afghan Festival is a unique event being organised and will further bring out the commonalities between the two countries through art, handicrafts, dance, music and other forms. The three day festival includes cultural performances, handicrafts, exhibitions, cuisine and cultural shows from Afghanistan as well as India.