Kabul, August 19 : It is Afghanistan’s 97th Independence day today. Afghanistan is celebrating it’s independence and commemorate  the Anglo-Afghan treato of 1919 also commonly called as the treaty of Rawalpindi. Although Britain never completely occupied Afghanistan, according to a previous treaty Britain was incharge of Afghanistan’s foreign policy, The Treaty of 1919 ensured that britain did not have this control over Afghanistan and that the two nations had a neutral relationshipAlso Read - Taliban Flags Torn Down in First Major Protest in Afghanistan's Asadabad

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had on thursday wished his countrymen a happy independence. Ghani tweeted,”A very happy Independence Day to my fellow Afghans. Let’s all work for peace/prosperity to pay homage to the sacrifices of our forefathers.” Afghanistan has been a victim of continuous warfare, since their independence. However, with international support, the situation in the nation today is much better than what it was ten years ago. Ever since the  Taliban was overthrown in 2001, the country has held five national elections. There has been a real development of a representative state and active participation in electoral politics by the civil society. Along with this, Afghanistan has also managed to enroll millions of students in schools and make the society more open by liberating the media and permissing scrutiny by them. Still, there has been a toll taken on the state due to the continuous warfare, Afghanistan today remains  fragile and heavily reliant on outside technical and financial support even as the international presence in Afghanistan is diminishing. Also Read - Earlier India used to be a mute spectator, now sets global agenda: Sushma Swaraj

As diplomatic norms and good neighbourly relations demand, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi reached out and greeted the people of Afghanistan on their independence day on behalf of the people of India. Modi tweeted out today, “Wishing the people of Afghanistan on their Independence Day. India deeply values the strong & enduring ties with Afghanistan. @ashrafghani.” After the defeat of the Taliban, India has maintained a policy of deepening its engagement in the country and develop closer bilateral ties. Economic reconstruction of Afghanistan has been a key part of Indian policy along with assisting in the social upliftment of Afghanistan. in the latest set of projects, to help in Afghanistan’s development, Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Salma Dam in Afghanistan’s Herat province.The dam was built at a cost of $275 million . The 42 MW dam is all set to boost the agricultural and industrial sectors of Herat. Also Read - India-Afghanistan Relations: Narendra Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani speak out against terror, talk of trade

India has taken great pains to see that Afghanistan proceeds in the path of development institutionally, infrastructurally and of late, militarily. India is extremely keen to have a progressive, friendly partner on its western border. Afghanistan is of immense strategic importance to India.There are numerous other projects that india has invested in. The TAPI pipeline is one of the projects that aims to bring in natural gas all the way from turkmenistan all the way to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan . The Chabahar agreement signed recently between Iran, Afghanistan and India, and in which India has huge geopolitical and economic stake in, is bound to bring India and Afghanistan closer and provide an alternate route for india to reach Afghanistan and completely avoid the Pakistan route. India has also recently decide to extend a military hand of help to Afghanistan, Lately, India has signaled a small shift in its policy by delivering M-25 attack helicopters to Kabul . This signal has certainly sent shock waves to the common neighbour Pakistan. (ALSO READAfghanistan: Pakistani army kills 14 militants in Khyber)

The extremely friendly relations between India and Afghanistan also extend to a shared concerns of the geopolitical realities of the region.The incubation of terrorists in Pakistan is an equal concern to both India and Afghanistan. Afghanistan is currently going through a particularly turbulent transition phase. There have been an increasing array of attacks from the Taliban  over the  months. In such a situation, it is the duty of India as a well being and better off neighbour to play  a bigger role in a country whose stability is vital for India’s ambitions regionally as well as globally .
The people of Afghanistan have always considered India to be a good, well meaning and kind-hearted friend. India should work to bring together more global powers invested in Afghanistan’s stability and economic development together .Bound by a common history of colonial invasion, Afghans had been one of the staunchest supporters of India’s long-standing struggle for self-determination and independence. The story of Kabuli-wala in the timeless work of Tagore have highlighted  the affection Afghans have for Indians, as well as their loyalty to those that they trust and befriend.

The Afghanistan-India strategic partnership agreement (SPA) has served to multiply the pace of Indo-Afghan bilateral cooperation in the political, security, development, and cultural areas. Afghanistan has continuously and through multiple governments continued to appreciate the multifaceted aid programs of India, which have been designed and delivered effectively, in response to and at the request of the Afghan government. India’s development initiatives have helped several hundreds of thousands of Afghans reach a better socio-economic status and enhance their quality of life.

For Afghanistan, the most treasured aspect of independence is the freedom to determine their own foreign policy. Ensuring regional security and prosperity is one of the key objectives of Afghanistan’s foreign policy. And it also constitutes the key commonality, which unites Afghanistan’s strategic partnership with India. This bond ensures that for times to come India and Afghanistan will remain permanently invited to celebrate each others paths of progress.