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Speech of Ambassador of India Kabul on the Occasion of National Day Reception

Your Excellencies, 

Distinguished Guests, 

My Fellow Indians, 

Friends, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Thank you very much for your presence this evening to celebrate the 69th anniversary of India’s independence. 69 years ago, on 15 August 1947, the long struggle for freedom from colonial rule that Indians had waged was finally rewarded. The ideals and the values that guided our freedom movement, led by Father of our Nation Mahatma Gandhi, became the cornerstone of the new, sovereign Indian Republic.
India is one of the oldest civilizations, but we are also a very young nation.  Over the last six and a half decades, India has secured a unique and respected place in the comity of nations. The largest and most diverse democracy in the world, buttressed by a vibrant media and an independent judiciary, India is committed to tolerance, pluralism,  equality, justice, and the rule of law.   Our economic policies have led to India becoming the fastest-growing major economy in the world today, and the most attractive destination for foreign direct investment with fast improving competitiveness and ease of doing business.  We are also a space, IT and scientific power, and a preferred hub for R&D by global corporations.  

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 
In the conduct of our foreign relations, India has always followed a policy of peaceful co-existence, non-aggression and non-interference.  Our overriding priority is to secure an atmosphere of peace and security in which we can focus on our economic transformation and the elimination of poverty.   Internationalism and an abiding belief in the inter-dependence of States is another hallmark of our foreign policy.  We have always championed the cause of developing countries and have worked hard for South-South cooperation.  We will work with all countries to tackle issues of common concern, such as international terrorism, the global economic fragility, climate change, energy security, food security, and the reform of multilateral institutions to reflect contemporary realities. 

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 
The threat of sustained terrorism directed against India from across our borders remains a major challenge to my country, as it does to Afghanistan.  It is among our foremost international priorities.   All Indians are united against this threat are we are determined to defeat the terrorists and bring them to justice, wherever they are.  We continue to call upon those who support terrorism as an instrument of State policy and differentiate some terrorists as 'good' and glorify them to stop these dangerous and self destructive games.  

The international community must also come together to isolate such States and sanction them robustly.  They threaten our societies with hatred, violence and divisiveness.  They must be stopped if we are to preserve our democracy, our civil liberties and our way of life.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 
Relations between India and Afghanistan are civilisational.  India-Afghanistan is the landmass where legends are born - of poetry and beauty, of valour and honour, of pride and generosity, of the warmest embrace of friendship and the strongest resistance to preserve freedom. In the timeless Buddhist symbols of Aynak and Bamian and in the majestic monuments of Delhi, in our culture and art, in language and literature, food and festivals, we see the imprint of our timeless relations.

Recently, our Strategic partnership has been raised to new heights with two visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi within a span of less than six months.  The newly built Afghan Parliament building in Kabul and the India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam in Herat are just two of the modern symbols of our age-old friendship.  Together, our partnership has built roads, schools, hospitals, transmission lines and irrigation facilities.  It has empowered women with skills and the youth with education.  Now, India’s investment in Chabahar port will give Afghanistan a new access route to the world and a new path to prosperity.  At the same time, we hope that those who restrict Afghanistan's direct overland access to the large Indian market will change their ways and permit Afghanistan to prosper.  

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, 
I am sure you will all join me in saluting the Afghan National Security Forces and the Afghan people for countering various terrorist groups and their supporters with courage and resilience. They need the continued support of the international community, and I trust that they will not be disappointed.  I must particularly thank them for their bravery during the massive terrorist attacks on our Consulates  in Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad earlier this year.  Their heroic efforts and sacrifices saved many lives and defeated the objectives of the forces of evil.

Finally, on this joyful occasion, I convey my best wishes to all Afghans for peace and security in their beautiful land, and for their prosperity and well-being.  India, for one, will always stand by you at every step.  
Long Live Afghanistan.  Long live India-Afghanistan friendship!



Thank you!

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