Afghan president arriving on first India visitNew Delhi: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is arriving in New Delhi April-end, his first to India since assuming office last year. He will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Ghani will also give a talk
Ghani will also give a talk at the Indian Council of World Affairs during his visit.
His wife, Rula Ghani, met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday.
Swaraj told the Afghan First Lady during a dinner held in her honour that Afghanistan has a very special place in India.
"India is proud to be called Afghanistan's first strategic partner, and is committed to assisting Afghanistan in its quest to become an independent, peaceful and prosperous country. We see this as being vital for India's security and the security of the wider South Asian region," she said.
"...your leadership to empower women in Afghanistan is all the more remarkable, given the recent tragic history of your country that has caused so much suffering and loss, particularly to women and children," Swaraj said.
"Your courage and your leadership on the issue of empowering women in Afghanistan and looking after orphaned children is vitally important for your country, and greatly enhances its chances of overcoming its tragic past and becoming a prosperous, peaceful and independent nation."
"We know that on the way you have had to court controversy, and face unnecessary personal attacks. But you have nonetheless persevered for the sake of all Afghan women and children. You have shown courage and grace under fire which has always been the mark of great warrior...you are an inspiration to all of us and we thank you for that," Swaraj said in her speech on Tuesday night.
Afghanistan's National Unity government's CEO Abdullah Abdullah visited India in March on a largely private visit.
Modi invited Ghani to visit India when he met him on the sidelines of the SAARC summit last year in Kathmandu.
Ghani's visit comes amid media reports that the Afghan government has cancelled a request by the previous Hamid Karzai government for arms from India, a move which was seen as a step to persuade Pakistan to help the Afghan government with the peace process.
Ghani visited China on his first official visit after taking over in October and visited Pakistan in November. His predecessor Hamid Karzai had visited India a dozen times during his tenure.
India has played a key role in reconstruction of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 and has pledged $2 billion in aid.