His Excellency, President Ashraf Ghani, members of the media,
I am delighted to welcome President Ghani and his delegation to India.
We are meeting in the shadow of the horrible calamity in Nepal. President Ghani and I speak for our two countries, South Asia and the world to the people of Nepal: Your courage and humanity has earned the respect of the world. And, you are not alone at this moment of tragedy and trial.
We will do everything possible with rescue and relief. And, we will certainly be there when you rebuild your lives and reconstruct your homes and heritage.
President Ghani and I discussed the historic efforts to rebuild his nation. We in India admire the courage and resolve of the Afghan people to seek a future of peace and prosperity. They are succeeding against huge challenges.
The relationship between India and Afghanistan is not just between two countries or governments. It is a timeless link of human hearts.
We deeply value the friendship and the goodwill of the Afghan people. Every Indian, in turn, holds the Afghan people in the highest affection and esteem.
This is why we stand with the people of Afghanistan, as they build a united, stable, democratic and prosperous nation.
This comes from the responsibility of our friendship. It also stems from our commitment to regional peace and progress.
Fourteen years ago, we started a new chapter in our relationship, in a new era for Afghanistan, under the leadership of President Karzai. The partnership has blossomed despite barriers of geography and hurdles of politics.
We will continue this journey in partnership with President Ghani and his National Unity Government with Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah.
And, it will not be limited to the period of transition or the decade of transformation. This is an enduring commitment.
The peaceful democratic transition last year is a great boost for Afghanistan’s progress. It reflected the faith in democracy of the brave Afghan people and great wisdom of the nation’s political leadership. Preserving the mandate and political unity will be important for the country’s future.
I conveyed our support for President Ghani’s vision for peace and stability in Afghanistan.
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.
Its success requires a positive and constructive approach from neighbours, including an end to support for violence.
We share Afghanistan’s pain over persisting terrorism and extremist violence that destroy lives and derail progress.
I thank him for our cooperation against terrorism.
We are deeply grateful to the Afghan security forces, who protect our people in Afghanistan as they would their own.
President Ghani 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 to seacould turn Afghanistan into a hub that connects Asia’s diverse regions and beyond.
We are ready to welcome Afghan trucks at the ICP Attari. We are also prepared to join the successor agreement to Afghan Pakistan Trade and Transit Agreement. This will re-establish one of the oldest trading routes of South Asia. I also reaffirmed my commitment to take the Chahbahar Port project in Iran forward. We will also quickly conclude a bilateral Motor Vehicles Agreement.
We will expand our development partnership, which includes infrastructure, agriculture, connectivity, human resource development, community projects and humanitarian assistance. We will explore new trade and investment opportunities.
Afghan children have a special focus in our efforts. Today, I conveyed fresh support for Habibia School in Kabul, the Indira Gandhi Child Health Care Hospital and Red Crescent Society Fund for treatment of children with congenital heart disease.
We are prepared to continue our support for capacity building of Afghan security forces. I am pleased that we have delivered three Cheetal Helicopters to Afghanistan, which will add to the growing capabilities of the valiant Afghan Forces.
Excellency, Afghanistan’s success is a much deserved destiny of Afghan people. But, it is also vital for the world. In the troubles of our times, it has acquired added importance.
India will walk shoulder to shoulder with you and the Afghan people in a mission of global importance.
Your visit has added new momentum to our partnership.
Thank you, Sir, thank you Excellency.