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Leaders of Afghanistan and India Vow to Deepen Cooperation in Fighting Terrorism

India is funding several infrastructure-related projects in war-ravaged Afghanistan

Islamic Terrorism worldwide. Wikimedia Commons

The leaders of Afghanistan and India have vowed to continue their joint efforts to “overcome terror and extremism” facing the two nations.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated the resolve Monday during a video conference inaugurating the newly-restored Storay (Star) Palace, which is the office of the Afghan president in Kabul.

Lack of proper maintenance and decades of war damaged the nearly century-old building, which is seen as a symbol of Afghanistan’s foreign diplomacy. India’s government funded the nearly $6-million restoration project.

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“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,” Modi told the video audience.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

India is funding several infrastructure-related projects in war-ravaged Afghanistan. It has poured around $2 billion into Afghan reconstruction efforts, making it one of the largest donors to the war-ravaged nation.

In June, Afghanistan and India inaugurated the nearly $300-million Salma Friendship Dam in western Herat province. New Delhi also funded the construction of a new Afghan parliament building at a cost of $90-million that Ghani and Modi jointly inaugurated last December.

“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,” Modi said in a veiled reference to rival Pakistan.

Afghan leaders allege Pakistani security institutions are covertly supporting the Taliban insurgency to try to retain their influence over affairs of the neighboring country and curtail India’s growing influence in Afghanistan. India also blames Pakistan for being behind terrorist activities on its soil.

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Addressing Monday’s ceremony, President Ghani thanked New Delhi for helping in the Afghan reconstructions efforts, saying it has strengthened historical bonds between the two countries.

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“We are decisive to show that we are ready to spare no effort in protecting peace, overcome terror and extremism and work for the prosperity and happiness of our nations,” vowed the Afghan president.

“This is not only a victory of two nations, Afghanistan and India, but also a victory of friendship over animosity, a victory of cooperation over sabotage, a victory of building over destruction and a victory of wisdom and foresight over superficiality and fanaticism,” Ghani added.

India’s growing ties with Afghanistan have raised concerns in Pakistan. Officials in Islamabad recently accused New Delhi of using Afghan soil for terrorist attacks, particularly in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which borders Afghanistan. India denies the charges.

India and Afghanistan’s relationship expanded under former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, which strained Kabul’s ties with Islamabad.

After assuming office in September 2014, Ghani took a political gamble by putting distance between Afghanistan and India as a confidence building measure with Pakistan.

But Ghani has publicly complained Pakistan has not reciprocated his overtures, blaming Islamabad for intensified insurgent attacks across Afghanistan.

Pakistan denies Ghani’s assertions and says it is working for peace and stability in Afghanistan because it is linked to Pakistani security and stability. (IANS)


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Twitter India steps in to bridge blood donation gap

Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country

Twitter to soon release Snapchat like feature. VOA
Twitter starts the initiative #BloodMatters. VOA
  • Twitter starts a new initiative #BloodMatters
  • This initiative is to create more awareness blood donation and its need in India
  • The step is being applauded and supported by the government as well

Aiming to create more awareness and bridge the demand-supply gap for blood units in India, Twitter India on Tuesday launched a new social initiative called #BloodMatters.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation, only nine million blood units are available annually in India, against a demand of 12 million units. Blood Donors India (@BloodDonorsIN), a voluntary blood donation helpline on Twitter, is the first partner for the Twitter initiative. Through this initiative, Twitter said it seeks to work with more blood donation helplines like @BloodDonorsIN, blood banks, and health institutions across the country to connect and reach a larger audience.

Twitter has launched three types of APIs to facilitate this.
This step will help bridge the blood donation gap in India.

“The platform aims to scale up the volume of blood donation conversation in India, the number of donors, and work with partners that can ensure safe, screened blood can reach those in need in time across India,” Twitter India said in a statement.

With this initiative, people can request for blood donation simply with a tweet to @BloodDonorsIN with their location hashtag, blood type, mobile contact and Twitter handle. People interested to help can follow @BloodDonorsIN and respond or retweet requests for help.

Responding to the initiative in a tweet, Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said: “I am happy to see Twitter take up this cause to strengthen the overall health and well-being of the country with the #BloodMatters initiative. This will play a powerful role in mobilising resources and strengthening the blood donation drive in India.”

blue tick
This will benefit several people and is also supported by the government. Pixabay

With the new initiative, launched ahead of its 12th birth anniversary on Wednesday, Twitter is expanding the reach of the @BloodDonorsIN helpline through Twitter Lite, which provides more data-friendly access to real-time information exchange on blood donations across India.

Twitter will be supporting the implementation of an automated response solution to scale the operations of @BloodDonorsIN, currently run by a group of volunteers.

Twitter said it will also amplify the real-time communication efforts of the handle with verification, promotion on Twitter, and use Twitter Lite to connect the helpline with people across the entire country, from the metros to rural India.

There is a lot of gap between blood demand and supply in India. Pixabay

“Giving back has been a priority for Twitter since its inception and we believe the open exchange of information can be a compelling force for good in the world. #BloodMatters is a step in that direction,” Mahima Kaul, Head Public Policy, Twitter India, said in a statement.

“We are humbled to kickstart the initiative with @BloodDonorsIN, a handle that symbolises our mission of positively impacting the world by harnessing the real-time power of Twitter and hope to make a larger impact by extending its reach through Twitter Lite,” Kaul added. IANS