World must support Afghans without timelines: Modi
KABUL (Pajhwok): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday paid a tribute to the Afghan people for waging what he called an epic struggle of courage and resolve to shape their future with vote and debate -- not gun and violence.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony for the new parliament, he hailed Afghanistan as a country with an abiding faith in the tradition of jirga, having chosen the path of democracy -- against challenges that would have defeated a lesser people.
Modi also commended the leadership of President Ashraf Ghani, CEO Dr. Abdullah and ex-head of state Hamid Karzai. Such vision and statesmanship came only from distinguished patriots, he said.
Addressing parliamentarians, the premier said: “I stand here, on behalf of 1.25 billion friends in India, in admiration for your achievements, in gratitude for your friendship and in solidarity for your future.”
He characterised the Parliament Complex as a small tribute to Afghanistan’s progress as a nation and a democracy. The building would stand as an enduring symbol of the ties of emotions and values that bound the two nations in a special relationship, he said.
“In the timeless Buddhist symbols of Ainak and Bamyan and in the majestic monuments of Delhi, in our culture and art, in language and literature, food and festivals, we see the imprint of our timeless relations.
“We owe to ancient Afghanistan the gift of one of the great characters of Mahabharata, Gandhari. In the achievements of Shershah Suri, we see connectivity that we now aspire to rebuild,” the premier observed.
He believed nothing was more important for a nation than its human resources, saying India’s scholarship and training programmes were empowering Afghan youth with modern education and professional skills.
In line with bilateral friendship and a commitment to peace and stability in the region, Modi promised India would continue to build Afghanistan’s capacity for governance, security and development, so that it could build a future that the Afghans so richly deserved.
Since Afghanistan’s success needed cooperation from all its neighbours, India, Pakistan, Iran and others must unite in recognition of their common destiny, the prime minister stressed.
“When Afghanistan becomes a haven of peace and a hub for the flow of ideas, commerce, energy and investments in the region, we will all prosper together. That is why we are working to improve your connectivity by land and sea, including through Chabahar port in Iran,” he argued.
Pakistan would become a bridge between South Asia and Afghanistan and beyond, he hoped, believing energy from Central Asia would soon power prosperity in our region.
The visiting dignitary voiced confidence the brave Afghans would succeed only when terrorism no longer flowed across the border and insurgent sanctuaries were destroyed. “Terror and violence cannot be the instrument to shape Afghanistan’s future...”
He supported peace efforts, but called for preserving the hard-won progress of the last decade and a half. As Afghans take responsibility for their future, he urged the world to stand with them in solidarity.
“We must support Afghanistan without timelines because the new clouds of extremism and terrorism are rising, even as the old ones continue to darken our skies; and, because Afghans are not only fighting for their future, but are standing up for all of us and a safer world.”
Every Afghan youth should see a future in which IT stood for information technology, not international terrorism, the premier remarked, saying the promise and opportunities of the 21st century belonged to Afghan youth as much as anyone else in the world.
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