India to stand by Afghanistan: prime Minister Narendra Modi

At inaugural of landmark 'friendship' dam, PM says will help rebuild country

Herat: India will extend cooperation to every part of war-torn Afghanistan despite facing barriers of politics, geography and terror attacks on its mission here, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted on Saturday after inaugurating a landmark dam in the strategically important Herat province.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Herat on Saturday. Pic/PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Herat on Saturday. Pic/PTI

In an address after inaugurating the Afghan-India Friendship Dam along with President Ashraf Ghani, Modi hailed the people of Afghanistan for denouncing terrorism and said division among them will only help those seeking to "dominate" the nation from the outside. "It was a war not of Afghan making, but it was one that stole the future of an entire generation of Afghans," the Prime Minister said, adding that the brave Afghan people are today sending a message that the forces of "destruction and death, denial and domination" shall not prevail.

When Afghanistan succeeds in defeating terrorism, the world will be "safer and more beautiful", he said. The dam, earlier known as Salma Dam, has been built by India at a cost of R1,700 crore on river Harirud in Chist-e-Sharif in western Herat neighbouring Iran. It will irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42 MW of power.

"This dam has not been built by bricks and mortar, but by the faith of our friendship and the valour of Afghans and Indians. And, at this moment of pride, we also stand in grief and gratitude for lives sacrificed so that Afghan people will have a future they so richly deserve and so deeply desire," Modi said. Resolving to stand by Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said India's cooperation will extend to "every part" of the war-torn country and that the partnership will benefit every section of Afghan society.

PM gets Afghanistan's top civilian honour

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Saturday conferred with Amir Amanullah Khan Award, the country's highest civilian honour. He was bestowed the honour by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani after the inauguration of the landmark Afghan-India Friendship Dam. "A true brotherhood is honoured," external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with a photo.

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