Tuesday August 23, 2016
Kabul (BNA) In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
His Excellency, Narendra Modi, the noble people of both countries, Afghanistan and India,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Arsala Sahib, Dr. Sahib Spanta, who initiated and signed the contract for this project and is present here today, allow me to congratulate you as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, respected officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members of Wolesi Jirga (Lower House) and Meshrano Jirga (Upper House). Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you!
Let me express my most sincere thanks to the government and people of India who have stood with us in days of happiness and sorrow. Today is another happy day that, with the inauguration of Storay Palace, a symbol of Afghanistan’s diplomacy in the modern era restored today with generous assistance of India both countries add a new page to our deep friendly relations. I also thank H.E Karim Agha Khan and Agha Khan Cultural Foundation for their efforts in restoring this historic palace. I especially thank Eng. Sahib Maiwandi and Eng. Sahib Saraj and all his colleagues. Changes in history have proven that if nations build their relations on the basis of friendship and mutual trust and cooperation, everyday would witness blossoming of a new sapling in the fragrant garden of their friendly relations. The relationship between Afghanistan and India is a full manifestation of this line from Hafiz: ‘Plant a tree of friendship to attain what the heart desires’. The roots of the tree of friendship of our both countries go deep down in history and its branches extend high in the horizon of time.
Restoration of Storay Palace means much more. Afghanistan laid the foundation of her modern diplomacy in the era of our country’s hero of independence Shah Amanullah Khan in this palace so that as a free and proud country committed to international laws, she open up a way to the assembly of free nations of the world. Restoration of this palace means the renewal of that glory in the 21st century; it means that we organize our relations with today’s world with freedom, with our head held up high and from an equal position vis-à-vis other countries, near and far. We want to be a responsible country that is committed to security, peace, and benevolence, and play our historic role in this area.
Moreover, Storay Palace is also tied to another historic memory, which has a notable importance for both countries. The Indian Government in exile signed the independence agreement of India in this building.
This means that both countries have stood together in different periods of history and cooperated for each other’s freedom, prosperity, and honor.
Today, too, the government and people of India, by taking part in small and large development and reconstruction projects in different parts of Afghanistan, wish that we are not alone in the face of problems, and that with the help of each other, march ahead in the way of independence together, which we started out in the past century, until we reach the pinnacle of development and progress. Our relations will not stop here. We are determined to show that in order to protect peace, overcome terror and extremism, and ensure prosperity and welfare for our nations, we are ready to use all our power. The logic of peace and benevolence must finally triumph over the logic of war and malevolence, and the logic of diplomacy and negotiation must triumph over the logic of terror and violence. This is not only a victory of the two nations of Afghanistan and India, but also the victory of friendship over enmity, victory of cooperation over discord, victory of constructiveness over destructiveness, and a victory of wisdom and foresight over superficiality and shortsightedness. This is our historic mission and responsibility to pave the way for peaceful coexistence of our children; put an end to war and insecurity; strive for prosperity and flourishing of our countries; open our arms for light and hope, and put an end to darkness, ignorance, and destructiveness.
Leaders and statesmen who have reached this understanding and wisdom extend their hands for cooperation and open up their arms for peace and reconciliation. By doing so, they respond affirmatively to the legitimate demands of their people who desire prosperity and happiness. Those who turn a blind eye to the needs of their time; who refuse to think of their people’s welfare and prosperity; who use war in lieu of peace and grudge in lieu of friendship will face, willingly or unwillingly, their historic regret, though it will have been too late for them.
We, Afghanistan and India, unlike some others, have decided to make history with friendship and cooperation, manage the time with wisdom and knowledge, and make use of historic opportunities for advancement of our nations. As we witness the re-opening of Storay Palace, I believe that in the months ahead we will also inaugurate Darul Aman Palace insha’Allah and take more steps to revitalize Amanullah Khan’s reformist commitment. Our present young generation, our (other) generations, especially future generations have the right to live in security, peace, and prosperity and witness development, progress, and advancement of their country. Protecting and realizing these aspirations is a heavy responsibility that this nation and state have to carry with all its heaviness. Ultimately, we believe in this (vision) and stay firm to our covenant. On behalf of the government of Afghanistan, I thank all esteemed ambassadors of India, especially the incumbent ambassador, Mr. Manpreet Vohra.
Long live the green way of cooperation!
Long live the friendship of Afghanistan and India!