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Event to mark India-Afghanistan friendship held

Event to mark India-Afghanistan friendship held
March 14
11:09 2019

India Post News Service

FREMONT, California: Diplomats, policy experts, community leaders and political analysts attended the first-ever India Afghanistan Peace and Friendship initiative organized by Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) in Fremont, California, on March 10. This event was co-hosted by League for Education and Afghanistan Development, Art of Living, Afghan Care and the Indian- American and Afghan-American communities, according to a press statemenrt.

Speaking on the occasion, former Afghan -Ambassador to Russia Abdul Qayyum Kochai, said, “Britishers had implemented divide and conquer policy between Hindus and Muslims during their rule over India that resulted in the partition of India. Afghanistan did not support the partition of India. As a result of the partition, both India and Afghanistan are victimized by terrorism.”

India’s Deputy Consul General of San Francisco Rohit Rathish, another keynote speaker, focused mainly on India’s contribution in Afghanistan’s development.

“Post 2001, India focused on infrastructure building, humanitarian aid and capacity building. India contributed in infrastructure projects like new parliament building, Friendship Dam, 220KV DC line, power substations and 218 KM Delaram-Zaranj highway,” Rathish said.

“India has provided 1.1 million MT wheat as well as hospital and medical help. India is also focused on capacity building by imparting training in various skills in Afghanistan as well as providing 1,000 scholarships per annum.”

Rathish said that 3,500 Afghan nationals are currently being trained in India’s various universities and institutions. He also highlighted that India provided air cargo corridor and helped develop the Chabahar port in Iran for Afghanistan’s trade with India and rest of the world.

Art of Living’s founder Sri Sri Ravishankar sent a blessing for the initiative in a video recording, saying: “Afghanistan people and Afghanistan be filled with peace.”

Various community leaders emphasized the importance of friendship between India and Afghanistan. Afghan-American community leader and head of Sufi sect Naqshbandi Mojadidi Tariqah, Abobaker Mojadidi, said: “India and Afghanistan has had a long standing relationship with a deep-rooted history. We look forward to growing our people-to-people, grassroots relationship within our communities here, and strengthening our ties between our two great countries and its dignified peoples.”

The Executive Director of California-based not-for-profit organization Afghan Care was of the view that people of India and Afghanistan should work together both inside the South Asian region as well as outside.

“I watched troubles of my Afghan friends while growing in Fremont. Fremont hosts largest Afghan American population in America,” Raj Salwan, Vice Mayor of Fremont, said.

“As a vice-mayor, I represent everyone and will always be supportive”.

Chairman of Festival of Globe and founder of Fremont Hindu temple, Dr. Romesh Japra said, “The Afghan community got victimized back in Afghanistan but also got discriminated here. People like me worked years to make local community friendlier.”

Indian American political activist Yogi Chugh mentioned that it took time to cultivate relations that need to be strengthened further. Namath Sahar, an Afghan community leader, emphasized on the need to have a follow-up to this event.

“This is not an event but a beginning of a long journey to develop strong and impactful relations,” FIIDS Director Khanderao Kand said.

While Rakhi Israni and Habib Sahar compered the event, Art of Living coordinator Manisha Pathak hosted a cultural program in which other than herself, Avinash Gaur, Alka Bhatnagar and Sunita Rai performed. The event had started with a piano performance by Afghan youngster Gina Karimi.

Chandru Bhambhra, Gaurav Patwardhan, Kiran Nanjundappa, Janmejai Singh, Sachindra Nath, and Sanjana Chopra helped making the event successful.

Various community leaders like Jeevan Zutshi, Vijaya Aasuri, Acharya Krishna Pandey, Sukhi Chahal, Bhrigu Kumar, Shivu Vibhuti, Chandar Malik, Lalit Mathur and Tirupatai Gande, were among those who attended the event.

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