Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

Salient points of PM Modi’s address on the Inauguration of Afghanistan – India Friendship Dam in Herat 4th June 2016

• Rivers have been bearers of great civilisations of the world. In the flow of rivers runs the course of human progress. In the Holy Quran, river is central to the image of Paradise. In the ancient scriptures of India, rivers defined our nation and were celebrated as the giver of life. And, it is a wise Afghan proverb that says, Kabul be zarbasha be barf ne: May Kabul be without gold rather than snow. For the snow feeds the rivers that sustain life and agriculture.

• We are not just launching a project that will irrigate land and light up homes. We are reviving a region, restoring hope, renewing life and redefining Afghanistan’s future. The dam is a generator not just of electricity but also of optimism and belief in the future of Afghanistan.

• The project would not just irrigate the fields of six hundred and forty villages in Chiste, Obe, Pashtun Zarghun, Karokh, Gozara, Injil, Zindjan, Kohsan and Ghoryan . It would also bring light to over two hundred and fifty thousand homes in this area.

• The lost decades speak to us about the ravages of a long drawn war. It was a war not of Afghan making, but it was one that stole the future of an entire generation of Afghans. And, when a new dawn broke over Afghanistan in 2001, we resumed the project.

• With resolve and patience, courage and belief, we have together overcome distance and hurdles, threats and violence.Today, the brave Afghan people are sending a message that the forces of destruction and death, denial and domination, shall not prevail. They will not come in the way of the dreams and aspirations of the Afghan people. The fields that produce the finest fruits and saffron shall once again come alive with the clear waters of the river. The homes that lived through dark nights of dread will now be lit by the power of hope. Men and women shall once again work the farms and ply their trade with the joy of hard work, in peace and security.The shoulders that were once weighed down in the shadow of guns would now bear ploughs to turn the land green. Children shall again believe in the possibility of a future of education and opportunity.

• This dam has not been built by bricks and mortar, but by the faith of our friendship and the valour of Afghans and Indians. And, at this moment of pride, we also stand in grief and gratitude for lives sacrificed so that Afghan people will have a future they so richly deserve and so deeply desire. The blood, sweat and tears of our people are mixed into this earth and have formed between us an eternal bond, written into the soil of this land. Bonds that remind us of ancient links between this region and India.

• Together, our partnership has built schools, health centres and irrigation facilities for rural communities. It has empowered women with skills and the youth with the education to shoulder the responsibility for Afghanistan’s future. We have joined hands to build roads that bridge the distances of your country, from Zaranj to Delaram, and transmission lines that bring power to your homes. Now, India’s investment in the port at Chahbahar in Iran will give Afghanistan a new route to the world and a new path to prosperity.

• When our people are under attack, the brave Afghans guard us as their own. They put themselves in the line of fire so that their Indian friends are safe. This is the nobility of your heart and the strength of your friendship. I have seen this from the moment I assumed office as Prime Minister. For on that day, when terrorists launched a massive attack on our Consulate in this city of Herat, the heroic efforts of Afghan soldiers, and of our personnel, saved many lives and prevented a big tragedy.

• India’s capacity may be limited, but our commitment is without limits. Our resources may be modest, but our will is boundless. For others, their commitments may have a sunset clause, but our relationship is timeless. We face barriers of geography and politics, but we define our path from the clarity of our purpose. We see resistance and suspicion of others, but our resolve is strong and your faith and trust guides us forward.

• Where some doubt your future, we are certain that no force or power can deny the Afghan people the destiny they have chosen, however long and hard the journey may be. So, on international platforms and in regional forums, we will speak in one voice for the Afghan right to a peaceful, prosperous, united, inclusive and democratic nation. And, in the fields, villages and cities of Afghanistan, we will work together for that future.