India PM Inaugurates Parliament House

New Afghan Parliament House donated by the people of India…

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by Koushik Das

InSerbia Network News

Dec. 26, 2015

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On his way back to India from Russia, Prime Minister Modi arrived in the Afghan capital to inaugurate the new Parliament House. Upon his arrival in Kabul, the visiting premier received a warm welcome, as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was present at the airport. Before inaugurating the new House, Modi and Ghani held delegation-level talks at the Afghan Presidential Office, popularly known as Dilkosha Palace, to discuss different aspects of bilateral ties. Later, Prime Minister Modi addressed the Afghan Parliament.

The Indian premier said it was unfortunate that the construction work of the Parliament building, which was started in 2009, missed three completion deadlines since 2011 and went over-budget by double the original costing of USD 45 million. Meanwhile, he assured the Afghan parliamentarians that India would always back the war-ravaged country’s effort to ensure peace. At the same time, he said that Afghanistan “will succeed only when terrorism no longer flows across the border”. The PM told the House: “We must support Afghanistan without timelines because a new cloud of extremism is rising, even as the old ones continue to darken our skies.”

Prime Minister Modi also sent a strong message to Pakistan that is often accused by Afghanistan of sponsoring the Taliban insurgency, saying: “There are some who did not want us to be here. There were those who saw sinister design in our presence here. But we are here because you had faith in us.”

Modi further assured Afghanistan that India, which has invested around USD 2 billion in aid and reconstruction in the country and trained scores of Afghan officers, would continue providing financial helps to Afghanistan in the coming years. Addressing the Parliament, he announced 500 scholarships for children of martyrs of Afghan armed forces. “Afghanistan with abiding faith in tradition of Jirga has chosen democracy against challenges that would have defeated lesser people,” he told the House.

For his part, President Ghani called the friendship between India and Afghanistan “antiquated and bound by a thousand ties”, stressing that Kabul would always be grateful to New Delhi for its “valuable assistance” as his country weathers “hard times”. “I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister Modi to Kabul. Though, India and Afghanistan need no introduction, we are bound by a thousand ties. We have stood by each other in the best and worst of times,” added the Afghan president.

Later, the Indian PM also held separate talks with Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Dr Abdullah Abdullah and former President Hamid Karzai. Incidentally, Modi arrived in Kabul just a couple of days after India delivered three of four Russian Mi-25 helicopter gunships to Afghanistan.

On Friday evening, the Indian PM also made a surprise visit to Pakistan. After landing in Kabul from Moscow, Modi called his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to wish him Happy Birthday. Sharif told Modi: “Why don’t you drop by since you will be flying over my country?” Modi readily agreed and reached Lahore at around 5pm (local time). At the airport, the Indian premier was received by Prime Minister Sharif with a warm hug. They took a helicopter to reach Sharif’s ancestral home “Raiwind Palace” in Jati Umra, where his granddaughter’s wedding was on. The two PMs discussed different bilateral issues and agreed to continue and enhance contacts, and work together to establish good neighbourly relations. After spending one hour at Sharif’s residence, Modi left for India and reached New Delhi at 7:30pm (local time). Prime Minister Sharif, too, accompanied Modi back to the Lahore airport to see him off.

Upon his arrival in New Delhi, Prime Minister Modi tweeted: “Spent a warm evening with Sharif family home. Nawaz Sahab’s birthday and his granddaughter’s marriage made it a double celebration”. Apart from Premier Sharif, two big leaders from both countries had their birthday on December 25. Tenth Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, while Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, was born on December 25, 1876. Jinnah, the lawyer-turned-politician, died on September 11, 1948.

Different Pakistani political parties have welcomed Modi’s surprise visit, as he, in a dramatically spontaneous gesture, becomes the first Indian PM to visit Pakistan since Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2014. However, the Indian opposition parties have raised a serious question – Can Modi’s unorthodox brand of diplomacy lead to lasting peace? We have to wait to see how surprise plays its role in Prime Minister Modi’s Pakistan policy.

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http://inserbia.info/today/2015/12/indian-pm-inaugurates-new-afghan-parliament-visits-pakistan

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Introducing Kali

kali blue

Laments the singer of this mystic hymn:

“Everyone will laugh at my attempt to swim the shoreless sea of her reality,

but my soul belongs to her and my heart delights in longing…”

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Kali conventional

The Mother of the Universe is my queen

and I am subject only to her…

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371_max (faded)

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This useless poet laments:

“My commitment to tilling the ground of my being

is neither consistent or deep.

Yet how intensely I long, O Mother,

to taste your most intimate presence,

to merge my soul with the radiance

of your dark blue wisdom feet!”

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This desperate poet prays:

“O Mother of the Universe,

please sever with your brilliant sword of wisdom

the bonds of egocentric thought and action,

and allow my soul’s light to rise

through the crown of my head,

the gateway to total illumination…”

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Timswit's Kali

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Her playful poet sings:

“Fearlessly celebrating the beauty of Ma Kali,

I throw the dust of pure devotion

into the eyes of Death

and easily elude its clumsy grasp…”

indian-army (faded)

Kali & likely the soldier pictured here are Hindu, India

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quotes from

Mother of the Universe

Visions of the Goddess and Tantric Hymns of Enlightment

by Lex Hixon

1994

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India & Pakistan Jostle for Influence

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Afghanistan Express Daily Newspaper

March 4, 2014

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New Delhi – India’s most important message for Afghanistan is that it is not leaving, and it is backing that message with the biggest aid package it has ever given another country. Indian diplomats insist the message is meant as reassurance for allies in Afghanistan nervous about waning international support as NATO withdraws its troops. Yet it could equally have been chosen to send a warning to India’s arch-rival, Pakistan.

The nuclear-armed neighbors both want to secure influence in Kabul after foreign combat forces leave this year, and both are using aid as part of their strategy. India’s $2 billion aid package includes several big projects, including a white marble parliament in Kabul that is rising up next to the blasted ruins of the old king’s palace.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are rockier. Afghan President Hamid Karzai regularly accuses Pakistan of supporting Taliban militants, and has curtly made clear he cares more about security than Pakistani aid. Some Afghans fear that the regional rivalry might drag their country into a proxy war.

“This is a very sensitive situation. Both are powerful, important allies,” said Senator Arifullah Pashtoon, chairman of Afghanistan’s foreign relations committee. “India is our friend. But Pakistan is our twin.” With the NATO withdrawal looming, Afghanistan has increasingly sought Indian military assistance, while Pakistani offers of military help have largely been snubbed.

India, wary of antagonizing Pakistan, has refused to supply lethal equipment but that may change after Indian elections due by May. For now, New Delhi relies on soft power. A handsome new cream-and-red sandstone building in New Delhi houses the Indian agency overseeing foreign projects. Created in 2011, the agency’s 25 officers oversee billions of dollars. An official, who declined to be identified, estimated India is expanding such projects by about 20 percent a year.

The agency is determined to do things differently from the donors who used to patronize India. Overheads are minimal: just one person in India’s Kabul embassy oversees the Afghan package and all money goes through the Afghan government budget… (Reuters)

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Karzai Pushes Back At U.S.

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Written by Karim Amini

TOLOnews

13 December 2013 (last update 14 December 2013)

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“Allies shouldn’t be waging psychological war against each other,” Karzai said while on his four-day trip to New Delhi to meet with Indian officials.

Negotiations over the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) have hit a rough patch since Karzai refused to go along with the recommendation of the Loya Jirga to sign the pact before the end of the year. Instead, he said he would not do so until the April elections, and then, only if the U.S. met certain preconditions.

The U.S. and its allies have been losing patience with Karzai over the accord, which would allow foreign troops to stay in Afghanistan after the 2014 NATO withdraw and would guarantee continued military aid to the Afghan forces. Washington has demanded the agreement be signed before the end of the year.

More pertinently, U.S. officials like Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry have made public statements warning Karzai and his government of what Afghanistan could be like in just over a year if no foreign troops stick around and the funding flow is cut off.

“if you survey the U.S. and generally the western press in the past three years, there has been a barrage of propaganda with regard to 2014 and the consequences for Afghanistan,” Karzai said on Thursday.

The President maintained that Afghanistan has sacrificed and contributed more to the war against terrorism than any other nations in the world and that these sacrifices can’t be valued in money.

“If we are friends, if we are allies we must be treated as friends and allies; they needn’t portray us in a manner as if we are in such need that if they aren’t here we are neither a nation, nor a country, nor a culture, nor a history, nor a future – that’s not right,” Karzai said.

“We will be here whether the U.S. is here or not, that’s where we are, this is our country; of course, we will be in more trouble, we will be poorer in certain ways, but Afghanistan can continue and will survive.”

President Karzai once again reaffirmed his preconditions – advance peace talks with the Taliban and end raids on Afghan homes – with regard to signing of the BSA and said that the U.S. cannot pressure him into signing the accord.

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