Inauguration Ceremony of Renovated Stor Palace in Kabul via video-conferencing
Foreign Minister Excellency Rabbani
And my dear Afghan friends, sisters and brothers
It is indeed a matter of great pleasure to be with you again. Afghanistan is India’s immediate neighbor and, in our hearts and minds, Indians and Afghans have always been closest of friends.
Today, we once again come together to celebrate yet another achievement of our friendship and, take another step in the fruitful journey of our cooperation.
Fewer things give greater joy than getting together with good friends to celebrate successful completion of joint initiatives. You and I have been fortunate to have done so on important occasions in the past months.
In December last year, you and the Afghan people stood with me to inaugurate the Afghan Parliament.
The inauguration signaled and showed our joint commitment to strengthening the foundations of modern Afghanistan. The India-Afghanistan-Iran transit corridor Agreement that we signed in May this year was another land mark in our partnership.
It manifested our clear and common determination to build new pathways for Afghanistan’s economic progress and prosperity and, a month later, in June this year, we joined hands and inaugurated the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam.
The Salma dam will revive and renew not just the economy and agriculture of the Herat region of Afghanistan.But will also build a strong and lasting pillar of support for Afghanistan’s overall growth and development.
Today’s video inauguration of Stor palace is an entirely different, yet in many ways more fundamental, dimension of our engagement. I say this because it brings back to life a valuable landmark of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.
The Stor palace has been the setting for many momentous historical events. To those who cannot see beyond shadows of violence in Afghanistan, the restored Stor palace is a reminder of the glory of Afghanistan’s rich traditions.
And for our Afghan brothers and sisters, it revives the beauty, the richness and splendor of lost memories of Afghan society.
True to the foundations of our ties, it links the present of our friendship to the historical bonds of our linkages.I must commend all the artists, experts and consultants who worked day and night to accomplish this delicate task.
Afghanistan is a close friend. Our societies and people have had age old ties and links.
It, therefore, saddens us to see that your proud nation continues to be challenged by externally sponsored instruments and entities of violence and terror.
Let me assure the people of Afghanistan that in your quest:
• to build a prosperous Afghanistan; and
• to bring peace, security and stability to your society;
the 1.25 billion people of India will always be on your side.
The pledge of our partnership and strength of our friendship with Afghanistan is unwavering .
Today’s event is a testimony to the resolve and range of our cooperative endeavours .
We want each Afghan to flourish and your society to be benefited from fruits of economic growth.
Whatever may be the odds, India will work with you for a bright future for all Afghans.
In the end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your Government for protecting Indian Embassy and Consulates and ensuring the safety and security of Indian experts working in Afghanistan.
The sacrifices made by our Afghan brothers will not be forgotten.
I once again thank you for your presence today.
I look forward to seeing you in person soon.
I also hope to have an opportunity to visit the renovated Stor palace someday.
Thank you, Thank you very much.