Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, March 6th, 2021

Afghanistan-India Relations: A Unique Example for Regional Countries

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Afghanistan-India Relations:  A Unique Example for Regional Countries

At the height of the escalating war and violence, yesterday the people of Afghanistan were in the witness of a good event; it was the construction of Shatoot Dam in the thirsty outskirts of Kabul capital city. Based on the contract which singed between Afghan and Indian officials, the Shahtoot Dam is planned to be completed in the next three years with holding nearly 150 million cubic meters of water to help irrigate some 4,000 hectares of land, and to provide drinking water to some two million residents of Kabul. The Indian prime minister pledged that his government will provide $236 million to construct the dam. However, this is not the first major and effective project being built by India in Afghanistan.
In last two decades, India sponsored several big and effective projects such as construction of parliament and India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam], and now Shatoot dam. Although Afghanistan was donated billions of Dollars in last two decades, the Indian assistance were more strategic and more effective focusing on re-construction of economic infrastructure. If all donors could spend their donation in such effective way, now Afghanistan would have overcome all the current challenges. Many Afghans believes that friendship between the two countries have been strong, unlimited, stable and can be mentioned as a good example in the region and also in world level.
According to public opinion, India has always proved its good-will and good friendship with Afghanistan, especially in last two decades. In addition to construction of Afghan parliament, construction of Salma dam and lately Shatoot dam, India has sponsored hundreds of public and private schools, thousands of scholarships, sending corona vaccine for nearly half a million people and constructed multiple roads in Afghanistan. It is said that that India “is the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan and the fifth largest donor globally with sponsoring unforgettable strategic projects in the country. Although Afghanistan is not directly connected to India, many Afghans trust India to go there for study, business, and using health its services. In general, India has a high place in the heart of Afghan people because of its constructive friendship and relations with Afghan people. Nevertheless, the friendship with India should never mean hostility with someone else. 
Despite the fact Afghan people have no destructive memory from India in soil of Afghanistan; the government of Afghanistan should note that there is a long competition between India and Pakistan. Therefore, both countries may try to continue its rivalries through soil of Afghanistan.  No country must be allowed to continue its competition from soil of Afghanistan or misuse the relation with Afghanistan in a way to threaten the interest of other countries. We expect both countries should build their constructive relationship with Afghanistan just on the basis of mutual relation not affecting any third party. Neither the presence of India should be considered as threat to Pakistan and nor the presence of Pakistan should be considered as a threat to India. Given its geographical position, Afghanistan should play its economic role in the heart of Asia. Therefore, it is one of the key responsibilities of the Afghan government to prove its impartial role in heart of Asia. The close friendship between India and Afghanistan must not be considered as a threat to any third country.
As pointed out, we have no bad memory from India in soil of Afghanistan other than playing constructive role. Therefore, the relationship between Afghanistan and India should be a good example for other countries in the region. They must realize that any relationships that are established on basis of force and oppressive actions are unstable. In twenty first century, no one should expect a stable friendship through imposing puppet regime or imposing colonial system. Afghan people will remain appreciative and grateful to those who chose true ways of friendship with Afghan people. It is extremely expected from government of Afghanistan to compensate the true friendship of those countries such as India, Japan, Germany and others through prioritizing their goods and services in Afghanistan. We must not be merely the receiver of donations; we should also prove to be a good friend. The prospects of relationships with these countries, especially with India seem very shining. India is a one emerging economic and political power and it can trustfully support Afghanistan in the fields of education, health and reconstruction of the country. On the other hand, Afghanistan is a economic corridor between south Asian and central Asia which is very important for India as a growing economic power.
And finally, it is also worth to appreciate the current president of Afghanistan for his unique economic initiations in the country. Seemingly, he is well aware that this is more than six centuries that Afghanistan has been isolated economically. This happened after the invention of compass and advanced ships which led to shutdown of Silk Road in the heart of Asia. Afghanistan which was the center of trade and business suddenly isolated changing to a landlocked country with sudden decrease in trade and goods exchanges. Today, if we want to revive our traditional position, we need to rescue from chronic poverty changing the landlocked country to land-link country in the heart of Asia. In this regard, the economic projects which have been initiated by the president Ghani can be considered as new historic steps to break the historical isolation. Although the government of Ghani has many weaknesses in terms creating national oneness, fighting against corruptions, rise of violence and so forth, his economic plans and achievements was unique in recent history of Afghanistan. If he wishes to improve in all mentioned fields, he should follow the footsteps of Amanulllah in all fields especially in fields of promoting democracy, civil freedoms, meritocracy, fighting against corruption, insecurity and more importantly creating homophony between deprived people of the country and government.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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