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16 Jun 2016 - 13:51
author avatar
16 Jun 2016 - 13:51

It was 2006; I was working with UNDP in Herat, Afghanistan

 An Indian research team arrived Herat city, they asked me for an interview regarding India in Afghanistan. Interview started by, how is India and Afghanistan relationship? I did not went that far, just started from 1990s (Afghan Civil War) and Taliban government:

Before Afghan civil war India had broad spectrum, unified relationship via specific Afghan Government interface with all Afghan Nation but While Taliban was ruling Kabul tactically misinformed Indian by saying all Taliban are Pashtuns.

Indian strategists took the wrong turn, changed the interface of relationship from all Afghan Nation to a specific group (Northern Alliance

How to change public perception?

If India wants to be seen as real and honest friend of Afghan nation, they should change relationships interface back from a specific group (Northern Alliance) and individuals to government and nation interface, they should help Afghan government and change India’s image in Pashtun ethnicity minds. Thus it will take some time to get back to position both countries had While Dr.Najeebullah and King Zahir shah was ruling the country. I suggested changing public perception by giving scholarship to Afghan students in Indian universities. A team member asked me, how a scholarship will change public perception about India?

Afghan’s life style and family structure is different and still indigenous, many of Afghans live ordinary life. One person in a family is responsible for so many things, that one person can change life and future of all family. If India gives one scholarship to an Afghan student, he gets modern and world class skill, knowledge and expertise after graduation, as soon as he come back to Afghanistan, he will get good job with monthly salary started from 500$-3000$(depends on position), this is how he will put full stop to poverty, he will provide fees to children to go school, he will provide good medication to family members and so on. With this all family perception is changed, will say, Thank you India, Indian government given scholarship changed life of our whole family.

Interview finished I offered some fresh grapes of Herat called “Lal Angor”, eating grapes finished according to Afghani culture I myself escorted them to the main gate and said Bye to them.

We are in 2016 , 10 years later, About 5,500 Afghan students are currently in the country (India), says Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, of whom about 300 are women. More than 10,000 Afghan students have studied in India on ICCR scholarships, Giving scholarship is still in progress. While some 8,000 Afghan students are pursuing self-financed degrees in different fields across India. India is the fifth/sixth-largest bilateral donor to Afghanistan. India work with Afghan government in various sections to strengthen Afghan Government. Assistance has focused on infrastructure, engineering, training, and humanitarian needs. India constructed:

  • The Afghan parliament building
  • Doshe and Chrikar Power project.
  • Setting up of an Afghan National Agriculture Science and Technology university in Kandahar
  • Constructing Part of the inter province Ring Road,
  • Construction of 220 kV DC transmission line  from Pul-e-Khumri to Kabul and 220/110/20 kV substation at Chimtala
  • Upgrading of telephone exchange in 11 provinces.
  • Expansion of national TV network by providing an uplink from Kabul and downlinks in all 34 provincial capitals for greater integration of the country.
  • Salma Dam,
  • Chabahar Port
  • Construction of a 218 km road from Zarang to Delaram for facilitating movements of goods and services to Iranian border
  • Annual Wheat contribution to Afghanistan
  •  Trained Afghan civil servants in Indian academies.
  •  The Confederation of Indian Industry has trained more than one thousand Afghans in carpentry, plumbing, and welding.
  •  The Self-Employed Women’s Association of India—a women’s trade union—has educated more than three thousand Afghan women in microenterprise.
  • Gave hundreds of TATA buses for Afghan public Transport.
  • Flag gift which is the first in its type in history where a country gifts the flag of other country to them. With the 207ft high, 60x90ft in size monumental. Afghanistan flag-gift of love to Afghan people from people of India
  • India will make a big cricket stadium in Kandahar Province
  • Hands transplanting of a former bomb disposal expert in Afghan Army Abdul Rahim at a hospital in Kerala.
  • Trained hundreds Afghan army soldiers in Indian army academies.
  • Gave military helicopters and weapons to Afghan Air Force.
  • 900 km railroad from Iranian border to Bamyan Iron mine will be started.

Afghans feel more benefited by India’s contribution than that of several other countries. That is because India focuses more on providing solutions to the problem faced by a normal citizen and they do not try to interfere in the internal matters. As conclusion if you ask any Afghan, What do Afghans think of India?

Every Afghan will answer:

We see India as honest friend and brother,

 India has been an important economic assistance partner for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan considers India to be a friend and brother

We love India.

We welcome Indian alliance wholeheartedly.


View expressed in this article are of the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Pajhwok’s editorial policy.


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The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect Pajhwok's editorial policy.

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