'Afghanistan very close to our hearts': Indian President Kovind

ANI | Updated: Sep 28, 2017 20:24 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept 28 (ANI): Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said that Afghanistan is not just a strategic partner, but a country very close to our hearts.

President Kovind made the remark during his meeting with Afghanistan's Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday.

Welcoming Dr. Abdullah to India, the President said that India considers him a very close friend and admires the selfless leadership that he has given Afghanistan through difficult times.

He said people to people exchanges have provided a very strong foundation to India-Afghanistan relations and added that Rabindranath Tagore's 'Kabuliwala' resonates in the heart of every Indian.

President Kovind said every Indian instinctively trusts a person from Kabul.

He further said that a new development partnership between India and Afghanistan has been announced earlier this month and both sides are embarking on new generation development projects aimed at supporting socio-economic development in Afghanistan.

He also assured Afghanistan of India's continuous support to Kabul in all possible ways.

The President said that India deeply respects the supreme sacrifice made by the Afghan National Defence and Security forces to fight the forces of terror.

"We are indebted to them for ensuring security of Indians and of our Mission and Consulates in Afghanistan. India strongly condemns the acts of cross border terror perpetrated against the people of Afghanistan. There is no doubt that the people of Afghanistan have suffered for a long time. Generations have been lost to terrorism. We empathise with their yearning for peace. We stand with the Government and people of Afghanistan in their quest for peace, stability and prosperity," he said.

Dr. Abdullah also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj earlier in the day to build upon multifaceted bilateral cooperation among the two nations.

Dr. Abdullah arrived in New Delhi on Thursday to hold talks with the Indian leadership and to inaugurate the India-Afghanistan Trade and Investment Show with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. (ANI)