NEW DELHI: Expressing concerns over the rising violence in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed targeting of the civilians, journalists and workers by the terrorists a “cowardice act” and asserted that both India and Afghanistan want to see the region free of terrorism.
In summit-level talks with Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani via video conferencing, Prime Minister Modi said: “I am concerned about the rise of violence in Afghanistan. The targeting of the civilians, journalists and workers by the terrorists is a cowardice action. We support an immediate stop to the war. Both India and Afghanistan want to see the region free of terrorism.”
Stressing on the friendship between the two countries, he said, “India has always supported Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-supported initiatives. Unified Afghanistan can fight any calamities. Succes of Afghanistan is the all-around success of India.”
Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani thanked India and Prime Minister Modi for the gift of water through the signing of an agreement on Shahtoot dam, and 5,00,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given by India.
Ghani said, “Your attention to Afghanistan and your offers of the gift of life to Kabul and the people of Afghanistan symbolise the value of decency, democracy, humanity, mutual interest, mutual respect, mutual trust and our interdependent world.”
“Your decision to provide us with 5,00,000 doses of the vaccine at this critical time when Indians themselves are looking for every single vaccine could not be a greater gift… These will be administered to our frontline health workers and our heroic security forces and vulnerable people. We cherish this act of exceptional generosity,” he said.
This came after an agreement on the Shehtoot dam in India-Afghanistan summit-level talks was signed by the two sides.
Shahtoot dam will provide clean drinking water to two million citizens of Kabul and will also be used for irrigation.
On the Shehtoot dam agreement, the Afghan President said, “With Shahtoot reservoir, we will be able to implement our vision of restoring natural beauty that captivated the imagination of Babur. I thank India and Prime Minister Modi for offering this gift of water, in addition to the gift of vaccines.”
This is the moment for regional consensus and international consensus. For a guarantee of a stable and prosperous Afghanistan. We must ask the world and all stakeholders to respect the rules of sovereignty and international relations. Stop giving sanctuaries and stop interfering in the affairs of their neighbours,” he said.
The Shahtoot dam is to be constructed on the Kabul river basin, one of the five river basins of Afghanistan. Along with the Shehtoot dam, India has pledged to rebuild Afghanistan committing to USD 80 million worth of projects. Around 150 projects have been announced by India in the conflict-ridden country.