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Afghanistan, India are bound by a thousand ties: Ghani

The Indo-Afghan partnership has blossomed despite barriers caused by geography and political hurdles, says Narendra Modi

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Hinting at the importance of Afghanistan and India relations, President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday said that the two countries are bound by a thousand ties and millions of memories.

President Ghani is in India on a three-day state visit. He attended a press conference on Tuesday with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After comprehensive talks with the Indian Prime minister on the entire gamut of bilateral ties and key regional and international issues, Ghani told the conference in New Delhi that Afghanistan and India are the only countries that need no introduction. “The ties between Afghanistan and India are engraved in our landscapes, from the haunting, empty frames where the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan once stood to the remnants of Hindu temples that stud the Afghan countryside, to Sufi shrines and minarets, forming the cultural heritage of India.”

He said while other countries have to overcome their past to build a future, India and Afghanistan can build a future based on their past. He said he welcomed the emphasis in bilateral transport agreement which would allow Afghan trucks, goods to India.

He said terror should be confronted and should be overcome.

He said the Afghan government is committed to changing the regional nature of cooperation. He said terror could not be classified into good or bad and everyone should stand united both regionally.

Ghani said Afghanistan’s quest is for democracy and they are inspired by the Indian tradition of democracy as he referred to the effect of India and Indian leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and others while growing up in the 1950s.

In the meantime, the Indian Prime Minister said: “We have a shared interest in the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process. This should be conducted within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence. “It should reinforce the political, economic and social progress of the last fourteen years. And, it should protect the rights and aspirations of all sections of the society, including Afghan women.”

Asserting that the Indo-Afghan partnership has blossomed despite barriers of geography and hurdles of politics, Modi said the success of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process within the framework of the Constitution of Afghanistan, without the shadow of violence, was in their shared interest.

“We share Afghanistan’s pain over persisting terrorism and extremist violence that destroy lives and derail progress. I thank him for cooperation against terrorism,” Modi said and expressed his gratitude to the Afghan security forces, who protect Indians in Afghanistan as their own people.

He said the President shared his impressive vision for Afghanistan’s prosperity, based on its talent, resources and location. “We believe that Afghanistan’s direct surface link to India and the rest of South Asia, and increased connectivity to sea could turn Afghanistan into a hub that connects Asia’s diverse regions and beyond.

On Monday night, soon after his arrival, Ghani met with Afghan students in India. He assured the students to resolve their issues regarding payments, passports and visas.

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