India and Afghanistan have shared a long history and a pleasant one for the most part. The good relations between the countries received a setback under the Taliban rule. Gun wielding Islamic forces of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda rule had led to the strained relations between the two nations. But with the situations drastically improving with near expulsion of these forces from Afghanistan, things has started settling back to normal. India again extended its peace forces and undertook the construction of many important projects in Afghanistan. The biggest project India undertook was the construction of Salma Dam in Heart province of Afghanistan and the construction of Afghan Parliament in Kabul. The Government of India funded and constructed the parliament building and the hydroelectric and irrigation dam project located on Hari River. The dam was opened by Indian PM Narendra Modi along with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Afghan cabinet renamed it to Afghan-India Friendship Dam from Salma Dam recognising India’s contribution to the country. This was a significant achievement but many more were soon to follow, sports especially Cricket is equally popular in both India and Afghanistan, Indian government recognised this and extended the offer to boost the development of cricket in the war torn country. In the most recent development Afghanistan is set to play its first test match in India today after it was awarded the Test playing nation status last year. PM Modi said on Thursday he hopes for a historic cricket match between India and Afghanistan would strengthen ties between the South Asian neighbours and allies in the fight against militancy in the region.
I congratulate the people of Afghanistan as their cricket team plays their first international test match. Glad that they have chosen to play the historic match with India. Best wishes to both teams! May sports continue to bring our people closer and strengthen ties.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 14, 2018
The letter written by PM Modi to the Afghan Team starts with the long history shared by India and Afghanistan. PM Modi in his letter also thanked the Afghan cricket team for choosing India as an opposition to play their first test match. This test match will further reinforce the ties between the two countries. Afghan cricket team has been actively supported by India ever since it joined the International Cricket Council back in 2001. Apart from constructing cricket stadiums in the country many Afghani cricketers also received training from Indian coaches. Shahid Vijay Singh Pathik Sports Complex in Greater Noida is currently the home ground for the Afghan cricket team after they decided to shift it from Sharjah. PM Modi said, “Today, cricket is a unifying force for the people of Afghanistan. India takes pride in being shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghanistan in this journey.”
The Test match being played in M Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru today is a testament to India’s role in helping Afghanistan for the past many years. PM Modi in his letter also praised the Afghan spirit, he said it has come in “challenging and difficult” circumstances. It is indeed a great start for a country which has been through a lot in the past few decades and is now looking forward to changing its image in the global scenario. We hope cricket brings prosperity and the positive attentions to Afghanistan. India and PM Modi through these gestures have already signalled that they can get all the help they want from India. Afghan cricket team and their players will likely be cheered from the stands of the stadium and gratitude and respect will be exchanged in all the matches to come.
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