Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani have inaugurated the long-awaited power project, the Afghan- India Friendship Dam, on Saturday in Herat. The dam also known as Salma Dam has been built at a cost of 1,700 crore (Indian rupees) on Harirud river in Chesht-e-Sharif. It has the capacity to irrigate 75,000 hectares of land. The dam will generate 42 megawatt of electricity. This power project has a long history. Some elements tried to hamper the project but their efforts went in vain as Afghans wanted to see the dam constructed at any cost. It was a step forward in the direction of development.
Although, survey of the project was carried out by the government of President Sardar Daud Khan, but the credit goes to the former president Hamid Karzai for his relentless focus and unwavering commitment. Knowing importance of the project and such others, the Karzai administration launched construction work on the dam with support of India. As it was expected, anti-Afghanistan elements tried again and again to hamper the power project, but Afghan-India friendship prevailed. It is result of the previous government’s commitment that the dam has become operational and would feed the energy-starving local industries which were on the brink of collapse. As Karzai has underlined in his telephonic conversation with Modi, the current government shall take full advantage of this and Chabahar port project.
Not only the local industries will survive but the agriculture sector will also see a boost. The project has cemented ties between Afghanistan and India as well. Relations between the two countries are timeless. The Indian premier has pointed it. Contemporary history of the two countries is littered with examples of how the two nations stood beside each other in turbulent times. The two nations share same history and culture. That’s why there is no wonder that why Indians are risking so much—their families and lives—to help their Afghan brothers and sisters. Afghan-India friendship survived considerable setbacks and difficulties due to civil war in the country and interference of neighboring countries.
Relations between Kabul and New Delhi will continue to stand on solid foundation. India is helping Afghanistan in all those sectors which are crucial for economic growth of the country. Salma Dam is just one example. India’s investment in Iran’s Chabahar port and Hajigak iron ore are other projects which would boost the Afghan economy and create hundreds of jobs. India is indeed a true and sincere friend of Afghans. Other countries shall follow India’s footsteps if they really want to help the war-devastated country.