India supports Afghan search for reconciliation: PMMay 12th, 2011 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS
Kabul, May 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said that India supported Afghanistan’s quest for peace and reconciliation, and will stand by it as its “partner in development”.
“We strongly support the Afghan people’s quest for peace and reconciliation. India supports the unity, integrity and prosperity of Afghanistan,” Manmohan Singh said at a banquet hosted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
“We wish to see a peaceful, stable, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan, that is in harmony with the culture, genius and temperament of its people,” he added, addressing the large banquet hall.
The Indian leader felt that Afghanistan, which has endured “great suffering and violence”, should now have an opportunity to put an “end to this violence”.
“Afghanistan should be allowed to rebuild itself, in the way its people want it to. Afghanistan deserves to occupy its rightful place in the global community,” Manmohan Singh said.
He said that Afghanistan should be assured of India’s support in its nation-building process.
“I have come here with a message of solidarity, friendship and goodwill from the people of India to the people of Afghanistan. India is your neighbour and partner in development. You can count on us as you build your society, economy and polity,” he added.
The prime minister admitted that the road ahead for both countries in meeting the aspirations of its people was a thorny one.
“There will be obstacles, but if we stand together we will achieve our goals. We will prevail, we will win,” he asserted.
He said both countries should have a “long term vision” of bilateral relations. “We should be ambitious in shaping our future ourselves.”
Manmohan Singh advocated greater people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
“We should harness the goodwill that exists between our people and encourage much greater exchanges at all levels both within and outside government.”
The Indian leader also waxed poetically about the long, historical relations between India and Afghanistan.
“When I see the love, affection and friendship in the eyes of the many faces around me, I know that I am visiting not just a neighbour but a very special friend. The presence of such a large number of prominent Afghan personalities here is enriching and humbling,” he said.
Manmohan Singh also reminded that relations between the two countries have been “immortalized in the poetry of Amir Khusro, the shrines of Salim Chisti and Moinuddin Chisti, and the grave of Bidel Dehlavi”.
He made a special mention of Afghan dry fruits, which he said are a “treasured delicacy” in India.
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