PM Modi, Afghan President Ghani jointly inaugurate Stor Palace in Kabul
Stor palace inauguration signals and shows our joint commitment to strengthening the foundations of modern Afghanistan: PM
Inauguration of Stor palace is an entirely different, yet in many ways more fundamental, dimension of our engagement: PM Modi
To those who cannot see beyond shadows of violence in Afghanistan, Stor palace is reminder of glory of Afghanistan's rich traditions:PM
Whatever may be the odds, India will work with you for a bright future for all Afghans: PM Modi

H.E. President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani
Foreign Minister Excellency Rabbani
And my dear Afghan friends, sisters and brothers


It is indeed a matter of great pleasure to be with you again. Afghanistan is India's immediate neighbor and, in our hearts and minds, Indians and Afghans have always been closest of friends.

Today, we once again come together to celebrate yet another achievement of our friendship and, take another step in the fruitful journey of our cooperation.

Excellency Ghani,

Fewer things give greater joy than getting together with good friends to celebrate successful completion of joint initiatives. You and I have been fortunate to have done so on important occasions in the past months.

In December last year, you and the Afghan people stood with me to inaugurate the Afghan Parliament.

The inauguration signaled and showed our joint commitment to strengthening the foundations of modern Afghanistan. The India-Afghanistan-Iran transit corridor Agreement that we signed in May this year was another land mark in our partnership.

It manifested our clear and common determination to build new pathways for Afghanistan's economic progress and prosperity and, a month later, in June this year, we joined hands and inaugurated the Afghanistan-India Friendship Dam.

The Salma dam will revive and renew not just the economy and agriculture of the Herat region of Afghanistan.But will also build a strong and lasting pillar of support for Afghanistan's overall growth and development.

Excellency,

Today's video inauguration of Stor palace is an entirely different, yet in many ways more fundamental, dimension of our engagement. I say this because it brings back to life a valuable landmark of Afghanistan's cultural heritage.

The Stor palace has been the setting for many momentous historical events. To those who cannot see beyond shadows of violence in Afghanistan, the restored Stor palace is a reminder of the glory of Afghanistan's rich traditions.

And for our Afghan brothers and sisters, it revives the beauty, the richness and splendor of lost memories of Afghan society.

True to the foundations of our ties, it links the present of our friendship to the historical bonds of our linkages.I must commend all the artists, experts and consultants who worked day and night to accomplish this delicate task.

Friends,

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.

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.

Whatever may be the odds, India will work with you for a bright future for all Afghans.

Excellency,

In the end, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your 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.

I once again thank you for your presence today.

I look forward to seeing you in person soon.

I also hope to have an opportunity to visit the renovated Stor palace someday.

Thank you, Thank you very much.

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Srinagar Viksit Bharat Ambassadors Unite for 'Viksit Bharat, Viksit Kashmir'
April 20, 2024

Srinagar hosted a momentous gathering under the banner of the Viksit Bharat Ambassador or VBA 2024. Held at the prestigious Radisson Collection, the event served as a unique platform, bringing together diverse voices and perspectives to foster the nation's collective advancement towards development.

Graced by the esteemed presence of Union Minister Shri Hardeep Singh Puri as the Chief Guest, the event saw the attendance of over 400 distinguished members of society, representing influencers, industry stalwarts, environmentalists, and young minds, including first-time voters. Presidents of Chambers of Commerce, Federation of Kashmir Industrial Corporation, House Boat Owners Association, and members of the writers' association were also present.

The VBA 2024 meetup began with an interesting panel discussion on Viksit Kashmir, which focused on the symbiotic relationship between industry growth and sustainable development. This was followed by an interactive session by Minister Puri, who engaged with the attendees through an engaging presentation. Another event highlight was the live doodle capture by a local artist of the discussions.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri discussed how India has changed in the last decade. He said India is on track to become one of the world's top three economies, surpassing Germany and Japan soon.

 

"The country is set to surpass Germany and Japan and will become the world's third-largest economy by 2027-28," he said.

 

According to official estimates, India's economy is projected to reach a remarkable $40 trillion by 2040. Presently, the economy stands at approximately $3.5 trillion.

He also stressed that India's progress is incomplete without a developed Kashmir.

 

"Bharat cannot be Viksit without a Viksit Kashmir," he said.

Hardeep Puri reflected on India's economic journey, noting that in the 1700s, India contributed a significant 25% to the global GDP. However, as experts documented, this figure gradually dwindled to a mere 2% by 1947.

 

He highlighted how India, once renowned as the 'sone ki chidiya' (golden bird), lost its economic strength during British colonial rule and continued to struggle even after gaining independence, remaining categorized under the 'Fragile Five' until 2014.

 

Puri emphasized that the true shift in India's economic trajectory commenced under the Modi government. Over the past decade, the nation has ascended from among the top 11 economies to ranking among the top 5 globally.

The Union Minister also encouraged everyone to participate in the Viksit Bharat 2047 mission, emphasizing that achieving this dream requires the active engagement and coordination of all "ambassadors" of change.

He highlighted India's rapid progress in metro network development, stating that the operational metro network spans approximately 950 kilometres. He expressed confidence that within the next 2-3 years, India's metro network will expand to become the second-largest globally, surpassing that of the United States.

 

Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, he mentioned that through the Smart project, over 68 projects totalling Rs 6,800 crores were conceptualized, with Rs 3,200 crores worth of projects already completed.

 

He further stated that Jammu and Kashmir possesses more potential than Switzerland but has faced setbacks due to man-made crises. He emphasized the Modi government's dedication to the comprehensive development of the region.

The minister highlighted a significant government policy shift from women-centred to women-led development. Drawing from his extensive experience as a diplomat spanning 39 years, he shared that when a country transitions to women-led development, there is typically a substantial GDP increase of 20-30%. 

He mentioned that the government is actively pursuing this objective, citing examples such as the Awas Yojana, where houses are registered in the names of women household members, and the implementation of 33% reservation for women in elected bodies as part of this broader mission. 

He also provided insight into the transformative impact of the Modi government's welfare policies on people's lives. He highlighted the Ujjwala Yojana, noting that 32 crore individuals have received LPG cylinders, a significant increase from the 14 crore connections in 2014. Additionally, he mentioned the expansion of the gas pipeline network, which has grown from 14,000 km to over 20,000 km over the past ten years.

The Vision of Viksit Bharat: 140 crore dreams, 1 purpose 

The Viksit Bharat Ambassador movement aims to encourage citizens to take responsibility for contributing to India's development. VBA meet-ups and events are being organized in various parts of the country to achieve this goal. These events provide a platform for participants to engage in constructive discussions, exchange ideas, and explore practical strategies for contributing to the movement.

Join the movement on the NaMo App: https://www.narendramodi.in/ViksitBharatAmbassador

The NaMo App: Bridging the Gap

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's app, the NaMo App, is a digital bridge that empowers citizens to participate in the Viksit Bharat Ambassador movement. The NaMo App serves as a one-stop platform for individuals to:

Join the cause: Sign up and become a Viksit Bharat Ambassador and make 10 other people

Amplify Development Stories: Access updates, news, and resources related to the movement.

Create/Join Events: Create and discover local events, meet-ups, and volunteer opportunities.

Connect/Network: Find and interact with like-minded individuals who share the vision of a developed India.

The 'VBA Event' section in the 'Onground Tasks' tab of the 'Volunteer Module' of the NaMo App allows users to stay updated with the ongoing VBA events.