indica News Bureau –
On March 10th, 2019, diplomats, policy experts, community leaders, and political analysts attended the first-ever India Afghanistan Peace and Friendship an initiative organized by the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS) in Fremont, California.
The event was hosted by the League for Education and Afghanistan Development, The Art of Living Foundation, [EW1] Afghan Care, and the Indo-American and Afghan American communities.
Afghanistan’s ex-Ambassador to Russia, Dr. Abdul Qayyum Kochai, one of the keynote speakers, stated that “Britishers had implemented [the] 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, Mr. Rohit Rashit, the second keynote speaker, focused mainly on India’s contribution to Afghanistan’s development. He said, “Post 2001, India focused on infrastructure building, humanitarian aid, and capacity building.
India contributed in infrastructure projects like new parliament building, [the Afghan-India] Friendship Dam, the 220kV DC transmission line, [EW2] power substations, and 218 km Delaram-Zaranj highway. “India has provided 1.1 million metric tons of wheat as well as hospital and medical help.
India is also focused on capacity building by training of various skills in Afghanistan as well as providing 1000scholarships per annum and 3500 Afghan’s currently being trained in India’s various universities and institutions.” He also emphasized that India provided the Air Cargo corridor as well as the Chabahar port for
Afghanistan’s trade with India and rest of the world. The Art of Living’s founder, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had sent a blessing for the initiative with his video recording. He blessed, “Afghanistan people
and Afghanistan be filled with peace.”
Various community leaders emphasized the importance of the friendship between India and Afghanistan. Afghan American community leader and head of the Sufi sect Naqshbandi Mojadidi Tariqah, Abobaker Mojadidi, stated,
“India and Afghanistan has had a long-standing relationship with a deep-rooted history.”
“We look forward to growing our people to people, grassroots the 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” said, “People of India and Afghanistan should work together both inside the South Asian region as well as outside.”
Dr. Raj Salwan, Vice Mayor of Fremont, said, “I watched troubles of my Afghan friends while growing up in Fremont. Fremont hosts the largest Afghan American population in America. As a vice-mayor, I represent everyone
and will always be supportive.”
Dr. Romesh Japra, cardiologist and the Chairman of Festival of Globe said, “The Afghan community got victimized back in Afghanistan but also got discriminated here. People like me worked for years to make the local
Indo-American political activist Mr. Yogi Chugh mentioned that it took a time to cultivate relations that need to strengthen further. Mr. Namath Sahar, an Afghan community leader, emphasized that it is more
important to have followed up to this event.
During his acknowledgment speech, the FIIDS’s director, Khanderao Kand, stated that “this is not an event but a beginning of a long journey to develop strong and impactful relations”.