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“India is our own”, India-Afghanistan friendship stretches beyond cricket

" India’s friendship with a dominantly Muslim Afghanistan is in fact a mirror of what all could have been right between India and Pakistan"

By Shivam Singh

An Indian fan outside the cricket stadium at Southampton exchanged flags with his Afghan counterpart. Somewhere else a group of bhangra-crazy cricket fans danced along with Afghans on ‘dhoom dhoom lak lak’. Another Afghan fan held a placard which read ‘Afghan by birth, Indian by friendship’. The love in the air was palpable. Ask any Afghan, their second most favourite team is always India. It was a match between brothers. And they danced, sang and cheered like brothers. Make no mistake, the passion was extreme but it was laden with admiration for each other.

Afghanistan shares no immediate boundary with India. But the long term relationship between the two countries renders the longest of distances futile. India’s friendship with a dominantly Muslim Afghanistan is in fact a mirror of what all could have been right between India and Pakistan. India’s involvement in rebuilding of a war-torn Afghanistan has only uplifted its image amongst the locales. For instance, India has built the parliament building of Afghanistan and cricket stadium in Kandhaar. India also constructed Salma dam which was later on renamed as Afghan-India friendship dam. India also trains officers for Afghan army. A lot of Afghani students study in colleges of Delhi-NCR. And as far as cricket is concerned, the BCCI has allotted the Dehradun cricket stadium to Afghanistan cricket board as a home ground. The list goes on.

India has invested a lot in Afghanistan. But so has America and it doesn’t enjoy the kind of love India does. It’s not about the aid. Rather it’s about the bonding between the people of the two ancient civilisations. The relationship between the two communities can only be defined as brotherhood. They both love to dance, celebrate and play cricket. Long live India-Afghan friendship.