Initiatives for bringing peace in Afghanistan should be led and controlled by Afghans, President Ram Nath Kovind said while welcoming his counterpart from the neighbouring country Ashraf Ghani in Rashtrapati Bhavan today. He “strongly condemned” recent terror attacks in Afghanistan including in the provinces of Kabul, Kandahar, Ghazni and Paktia that have claimed lives of over 200 people.
Kovind said India has been a victim of state-sponsored, cross-border terrorism for decades and can fully empathise with the ongoing quest of the Afghan people to secure peace. “India believes that whatever initiatives are taken for bringing peace in Afghanistan should be Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled,” a statement from Rashtrapati Bhavan quoting the President said.
Securing sustained peace and security remains the key fundamentals in leading Afghanistan on the pathway of economic recovery and growth, Kovind said. “Unfortunately, mindless and senseless violence is being imposed on the people of Afghanistan,” he said. Kovind expressed admiration for Ghani for the astute leadership that he has provided to Afghanistan through difficult times and commended him for strengthening bilateral relations between India and Afghanistan.
Recalling Ghani’s speech at the Heart of Asia Summit in Amritsar in December 2016 and his visit to the Golden temple, he said for India, Afghanistan is not just a strategic partner, but a nation that evokes endearing affection. The president added that civilisational links and people-to-people contacts provide a strong foundation to our ever-growing friendship. The two countries have deepened their strategic partnership in recent times, he said.
The India-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show here brought the businessmen of two countries together and generated business worth over USD 200 million, Kovind said. He expressed happiness at the opening of the air freight corridor between Kandahar and Kabul and Delhi and also noted that the Afghan cities of Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat have been connected directly by air to Delhi.