New Delhi, August 23 (The Hindu): Highlighting “close” friendship between the two countries, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday reached out to the government of President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan and said that New Delhi will “always” be there to support the country.
“Let me assure the people of Afghanistan that in your quest to build a prosperous Afghanistan and to bring peace, security and stability to your society, the 1.25 billion people of India will always be on your side,” Modi said, addressing a high level audience in Kabul through video-conferencing.
“Afghanistan is a close friend. Our societies and people have had age old ties and links. It, therefore, saddens us to see that your proud nation continues to be challenged by externally sponsored instruments and entities of violence and terror.”
He was inaugurating jointly with the Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, the newly restored ‘Stor Palace’ in Kabul, a stately building which had been damaged in the civil war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the palace, which is also known as the Star Palace or ‘Kasre-estar’, is a sign of the rich heritage of Afghanistan.
Modi stressed that, “whatever may be the odds, India will work with you for a bright future for all Afghans.” Presenting the views of the Afghan side, President Ghani said the “logic” of peace and benevolence will defeat the logic of terror and violence. India and Afghanistan have always been close friends, he added. Work for the palace, which is likely to serve as the office of the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, was completed through a public-private partnership with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture in four years.
The Stor Palace was built during the reign of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1880. It underwent a series of renovations till 1965 when most of the functions were shifted to another building. The building is expected to regain its stature with the restoration process now completed.