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Welcome Address by Amb. Sujan R. Chinoy Director General, MP-IDSA At Lecture by H.E. Dr. Abdullah Abdullah Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan 8 October 2020

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  • Amb. Sujan R. Chinoy
    October 08, 2020

    Your Excellency Dr Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, Esteemed Members of the Afghan Delegation, Members of the Executive Council of MP-IDSA, Friends from the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen,

    We are fortunate today to have in our midst Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, an eminent statesman from our close and friendly neighbour Afghanistan. Excellency, we are truly looking forward to your talk on the future of Afghanistan at a time when the intra-Afghan peace process is entering a critical stage.

    Friends, the lofty goal of building an enduring architecture for peace and progress is no doubt vital for the people of Afghanistan. It is equally vital for others. An Afghanistan that is secure and at peace with itself is a factor for stability throughout the region. The people of Afghanistan harbour the fervent hope of achieving peace through mutual accommodation of goals and aspirations. It augurs well that the regional and international community is ready to lend a helping hand in accordance with the priorities of the Afghan people.

    India has reiterated its conviction at the maiden round of the intra-Afghan dialogue that the peace process must be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. We have stated before our hope and expectation that it must ‘respect the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and preserve the progress made’ during the last two decades towards building a democratic Islamic Republic in Afghanistan. Equally, ‘the interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections of society must be preserved and the issue of violence across the country and its neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed’.

    We believe that Afghanistan has a right to forge its own destiny and realise its fullest potential. Above all, the peace process brooks no external interference. India respects the will of the people of Afghanistan, whatever they chose for themselves.  

    Your Excellency, your visit to India has come at an opportune moment. It further cements the close bonds between India and Afghanistan that have stood the test of time. India has played an important role as a major development partner of Afghanistan, executing more than 400 projects across its 34 provinces. India remains strongly committed to Afghanistan’s reconstruction process.

    Recently, the COVID pandemic has caused global disruptions in trade, travel, tourism and supply chains. In the prevailing geostrategic atmosphere, both trade and technology are being weaponised. Multi-alignment is overtaking multilateralism. Yet, one cannot over-emphasise the importance of coherent regional cooperation in overcoming the lacunae in global governance and national healthcare systems. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India has taken proactive steps to reinvigorate the regional and global response through its initiatives within SAARC and in the G20.

    While the world is riveted on the pandemic, it cannot be blind to terrorism, that great scourge that continues to afflict our region. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his recent address to the UN General Assembly, terrorism is one of the biggest challenges, not for any single country, but for the entire world and humanity. That is why, as he put it, it is absolutely imperative that the world unites against terrorism, and that the world stands as one against terrorism.

    Your Excellency, the Indian people wish you well as you go about discharging your onerous duty as the Chairman of the High Council for National Reconstruction of Afghanistan. We understand that the arduous road to peace will require infinite patience, perseverance, political will and wise leadership to ensure a successful outcome.

    In you, we see the reservoir of wisdom that is so necessary to reconcile contradictions in Afghan society and arrive at a durable consensus. You have amply proved your mettle in your various previous roles as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and as the CEO. Now, as Chairman of the High Council for National Reconstruction, the hopes and expectations of the people of Afghanistan as well as those of the regional and international community, rest on your shoulders. As a physician, you have a natural healing touch. We are confident that you will succeed in fulfilling your noble mission.

    It is our cherished hope that a sovereign and independent Afghanistan should one day regain its historical importance as a regional hub for trade and connectivity. It is our dream that its economy should one day have the fullest liberty, without let or hindrance, to connect with markets and supply chains in South Asia, especially with India.

    With these words, I once again warmly welcome His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to our Institute. Though your visit, we hope to deepen our engagement with the strategic community in Afghanistan.

    I now request Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to deliver his Special Address and share with us his vision of the future of Afghanistan.

    Thank you.