Modi's five-nation tour: Afghan visit concludes, next stop Qatar
| 04 Jun 2016
| Vidya Shankar Tiwari, Editor, NOP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, on Saturday, jointly inaugurated the Afghan-India Friendship Dam, a Rs 1,700 crore showpiece infrastructure project by India in strategically important Herat province, reflecting India’s strong commitment to reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.

The Prime Minister will also hold talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on the current situation in the country and the peace process besides other bilateral and regional issues.

Mr. Modi will also visit Qatar, Switzerland, the U.S. and Mexico, during which the focus will be on broadening bilateral trade, energy and security cooperation and push for India’s bid to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Mr. Modi is likely to seek support of Switzerland and Mexico for India’s membership in the 48-member NSG. The issue is likely to figure in Mr. Modi’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on June 7.
3:11 pm: During Mr. Modi's Qatar visit, India and Qatar are expected to give a fresh push to their economic ties, particularly in the hydrocarbon sector. Mr. Modi will also address top business leaders of Qatar, a country which is India’s largest supplier of LNG requirements, accounting for 65 per cent of its total imports last financial year.

1:57 p.m.: Mr. Modi concludes with Herat Sufi poet Jami's words: Whatever happens, will always experience freshness and happiness of gentle breeze of friendship." Read more

1:55 p.m.: Mr. Modi thanks Afghanistan for the honour, affection and friendship.

1:52 p.m.: Cricket diplomacy? Mr. Modi says, "We want to see ur democracy strike deep roots;ur people unite; your economy prosper, art & culture thrive; cricketers play Tests and the IPL.

1:51 p.m.: The friendship dam unites us in solidarity as Chishti Sharif joined us in spirit centuries ago, Mr. Modi says.

1:50 p.m.: Mr. Modi emphasises that Indian cooperation will extend to every part and benefit every section of the Afghan society.

1:42 p.m.: The dam will irrrigate land, light up homes: Modi. He says, "we are not just launching a project, we're reviving a region, renewing life,restoring hope and redefining Afghanistan’s future."

1:40 p.m.: Honoured to be among people who have set the standard of courage; Privileged to see again high tide of f'ship in vast ocean of love for India: Modi

1:40 p.m.: Thank you President for naming this dam as Afghan-India Friendship Dam. We are truly humbled by this generosity of the Afghan spirit: Modi

1:28 p.m.: Mr. Ghani says the dam will chart a new course of cooperation and prosperity.

1:20 p.m.: Afghan President Ghani says, "I present my profound gratitude to you, to compassionate people and competent govt. of India." He thanks the Indian govt. nd says a 40-year-old dream has been realised. "Today, with your help, an old dream of our people is realised after 40 years of waiting."

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