New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the 1.25 billion people will "always" stand with the neighbouring country in ensuring peace and prosperity as he jointly inaugurated through video conferencing the restored Stor Palace in Kabul with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
"Afghanistan is a close friend. Our societies and people have had age old ties and links. It, therefore, saddens us to see that your proud nation continues to be challenged by externally sponsored instruments and entities of violence and terror.
"Let me assure the people of Afghanistan that in your quest to build a prosperous Afghanistan and to bring peace, security and stability to your society, the 1.25 billion people of India will always be on your side," he said.
Modi, while speaking from his North Block office here, stressed that "whatever may be the odds, India will work with you for a bright future for all Afghans".
"The pledge of our partnership and strength of our friendship with Afghanistan is unwavering. Today's event is a testimony to the resolve and range of our cooperative endeavours. We want each Afghan to flourish and your society to be benefited from fruits of economic growth," he said.
On his part, Ghani said the "logic" of peace and benevolence will defeat the logic of terror and violence as he said India and Afghanistan have always been close friends and joint initiatives like these are a fruitful journey of cooperation between the two nations.
The Prime Minister underlined that "in our hearts and minds Indians and Afghans have always been closest of friends."
Modi also thanked the Afghan government for "protecting Indian Embassy and Consulates and ensuring the safety and security of Indian experts working in Afghanistan."
"The sacrifices made by our Afghan brothers will not be forgotten," the Prime Minister said.