India affirms its support for a democratic evolution in Afghanistan
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said India was proud of its close relations with Afghanistan and shared Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s goal of building a strong, prosperous and independent Afghanistan. He was speaking at the Rastrapati Bhawan during a banquet hosted for the Afghan president who was on a three-day visit to India.
Mukherjee said that India appreciated the work Ghani was doing and the formation of a national unity government which adds a new dimension to the process of democratic evolution in Afghanistan.
The President also said India supported an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned national reconciliation process within the framework of the Afghan Constitution. India-Afghanistan co-operation had neither an expiry date nor a timeline, he said.
As a friend and neighbour, India will always stand by firmly with Afghanistan, Mukherjee said, adding, “India considers it a privilege to share its capabilities and experience in nation-building and inclusive development with the people of Afghanistan.”
The President then called for efforts to be made to expand bilateral trade which in 2013-14 stood at $683.10 million. At least 72 Indian companies have invested around $17 million in Afghanistan from 2003-2013. India will encourage more companies to invest in Afghanistan. He expressed confidence that Afghan President’s visit will further strengthen the two countries successful cooperation in all spheres of shared interest.