Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Speech of H.E Muhammad Sarwar Danish, Second Vice-President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the Occasion of 70th Independence Day of the Republic

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Speech of H.E Muhammad Sarwar Danish, Second Vice-President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the Occasion of 70th Independence Day of the Republic

Your Excellency Mr. Manpreet Vohra the Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, respected members of Afghanistan Cabinet and the esteemed Members of Parliament, Ambassadors and Members of Diplomatic Corps, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, hello to everyone!
It is a great pleasure to attend, on behalf of Afghan government and nation, at the 70th anniversary of independence of our friendly country of India here at its Embassy in Kabul. First of all, I want to congratulate the national day of Indian Independence to the respected government and people of India, especially to His Excellency Ram Nath Kovind, the President, His Excellency Narendra Moodi, Prime Minister of India, and also to Ambassador Vohra; and wish more progress and welfare for the great people and country of India.
As the second most populous country of the world, biggest democracy, and one of the ten top industrial countries, India enjoys a rich civilization, culture and history and has very important political impact on regional and international developments. We in Afghanistan are honored to have very friendly ties with such a country. Bilateral ties between the two countries go back to thousands of years and since then we have had considerable commercial, cultural and scientific exchanges and numerous figures among our historical and cultural personalities make our common heritage.
In recent years, especially after the fall of Taliban, these ties witnessed more expansion and the volume of Indian assistance for reconstruction of Afghanistan has been very significant. Salma Dam, as a large national project is named Afghan-India Friendship Dam to be a sign of mutual respect and friendship. Also, construction of the new building for Afghanistan Parliament and signature of Chabahar trilateral agreement among India, Afghanistan and Iran in May 2016 and India’s 500 million Dollars investment for expansion of this international port are other good examples of India’s good support to Afghanistan.
India’s educational scholarships for Afghan students is yet another effective assistance to make a better future for Afghanistan, and recent opening of the air corridor that is used to export Afghan goods to India is also a positive move towards strengthening commercial ties between the two countries.
Unfortunately, terrorism has become a major regional and global challenge. Afghan government has always requested all countries in the region to help us in our fight against terrorism and has taken the first honest steps itself for such cooperation. India is also a victim of terrorism like Afghanistan and faced many damages as a result. Using this opportunity, I want to thank the Indian government because of its continuous support to us in our anti-terror fight. We also thank the international community, and most notably the United States of America, the European Union, the NATO and United Nations, and other international organizations and friendly countries that stand by the Afghan nation in fighting terrorism and support policies and development programs of the government of Afghanistan.
This is true that Afghanistan is facing an imposed war at the fore front of fight against terrorism and our security forces and civilians become victims of savage terrorist attacks, but in principle, our policy is founded on an economy-based politics and not a security-based one. Countries of the region, especially our neighbors should pay attention to this important point that our policies and politics should not be security-based. If all countries of the region, don’t define our national interests based on regional integration, economic development, and expansion of commercial and economic ties and don’t use each other’s large geographic and economic capacities, our nations will never face lasting stability and security and cannot achieve high levels of development and economic welfare.     
Afghanistan was among the main centers of the famous Silk Road and using its geo-strategic location as the Heart of Asia connects East Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia and finally connects all these four regions to Europe. Although Afghanistan is facing economic hardship, but it fortunately enjoys a very important geo-politic and geo-economic location and has enormous natural and mineral resources.
In the last two years, we have taken important steps towards regional connection through designing and implementing regional projects. I want to briefly name some of them: start of CASA 1000 project > start of TAPI gas pipeline project > opening of Aqina-Atamurad railway> opening of railway between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan> opening of railway between Iran and Afghanistan> design of railway between China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Iran <and> signature of trilateral agreement on Chabahar Port.
I should mention, that in this regards, one of the main problems in improvement of trade between the two important regions of Central Asia and South Asia is the issue of distance that causes high costs for transportation. This is while India is now the 5th largest consumer of energy in the world and according to projections, it is going to be the 3rd largest in 2030. Also, Pakistan’s need to energy is going to multiply in the coming years. On the other hand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia have rich energy sources.
Keeping this in mind, Afghanistan offers the shortest and cheapest connection route and the best energy corridors between these two regions. According to a study by the Asian Development Bank in 2005 on the economic impacts of road corridors between Central Asia and South Asia through Afghanistan, if the 13,586 kilometers of the needed road corridors for regional trade between these two regions that includes 3,657 kilometers inside the Afghan territory is built, the regional trade will increase 160 percent and transit commerce in the whole region will increase by 111 percent.
Similar to the issue of road corridors, Afghanistan is the best route for gas transportation and electric power transmission between Central Asia and South Asia. Therefore, Afghanistan has a good potential to be changed into a central market for energy through such connections. Such a market will be very important for both regions and significantly improve the economy of the whole surroundings. Therefore, we ask all the regional countries to join hands and cooperate for strengthening of regional integration that leads to regional economic improvement. As always said, doors of Afghanistan are open for all, and we welcome any positive measure or suggestions in this regards.
At the end, I want to congratulate once more the anniversary of India’s independence – and using this opportunity, I want to send a message to the governments and nations of India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
Anniversaries of independence of the three of our countries are very close together, namely, 14th and 15th and 19th of August. This is a beautiful and meaningful incidence. Let’s make our hearts, thoughts, and politics closer together more than before. From the core of my hearts, I sincerely congratulate national independence days of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan to all these brotherly nations. There is no doubt that our happiness and sadness are interwoven in these three countries. Let’s share our happiness and sadness together. We all are having a common fate. Let’s take the needed steps together towards betterment and salvation of our people and towards enduring peace, stability and welfare in our region.
I salute the holly souls of all those who made sacrifices for dignity, pride, freedom and independence of nations, specially the late leader of India’s independence, the great Mahatma Gandhi, and also Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India after its independence.
Long live friendship of Afghan-Indian friendship!
Thank you for your attention!

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