Ghani: Afghanistan to feed its dry lands by controlling water
HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): President Ashraf Ghani on Saturday said Afghanistan and India pursued constructive policies rather than destructive like some other countries did, stressing the need for controlling Afghanistan’s water to green it dry lands.
President Ghani was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam, previously known as Salma Dam -- in the capital of western Herat province, along with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The $300 million dam is located two kilometers from Salma village of Chisht-i-Sharif district and 176 km east of Herat City.
Construction work on the dam came to an end after 45 years of wait on July 2015. In 1978, India had pledged to construct the Salma Dam, but the coup against then president Mohammad Daud Khan and subsequent conflicts in Afghanistan left the project hamstrung.
President Ghani at the ceremony said Afghanistan’s water would be controlled based on international laws in order to prevent devastating floods. “We want to feed our dry land by controlling the water,” he said.
Herat suffered destructions eight times in the past, with one wave of each destruction flowing to Indian side and these facts also impacted culture, literacy, business and mysticism, Ghani said.
“Herat was one of our greatest centers of mysticism in our history, mysticism and Sufism is one of many areas that connected India and Afghanistan together,” he said.
Ghani said the Afghan-India Friendship Dam was the start of a series of construction of other hydropower dams in the country.
“India is like a light and greenness for Afghanistan, completing the first generation of its great projects with the inauguration of Salma Dam, we hope it would also start implementation of the second generation of its projects,” Ghani said.
“This is the reason India’s sweet historic memories remain in our minds, Afghan people know India from the beautiful building it constructed for Afghan parliament,” Ghani said.
He added India completed more than 200 big and small projects in Afghanistan over the past few years.
The president also thanked India for providing high education opportunities to more than 17,000 Afghan students in that country.
He said terrorism was a joint challenge for the region and both the countries were making high efforts to combat it. Afghans were giving sacrifices everyday for development of their country and their will to protect their land was strong, Ghani said.
“We know the challenges in our way and know destruction is easy than construction. The policies of both of us (Afghanistan and India) are constructive unlike some countries whose art is destruction and sending destructive messages,” Ghani said
“Construction is right and destruction is wrong, hope is right and disappointment is wrong, peace is right and violence is wrong and all people know right always wins over wrong,” the president said.
At the end of the ceremony, the president conferred Afghanistan's highest civilian wards, the Amir Amanullah Khan Award, on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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