NEW DELHI: Setting another stone in the “foundations of a modern Afghanistan”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi joined Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Monday in inaugurating the Stor Palace built in 1880 that will serve as the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Palace has been setting for the signing of the Rawalpindi Agreement through which Afghanistan became an independent state in 1919. India undertook the renovation and restoration of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage spending $5.7 million.
“The inauguration signaled and showed our joint commitment to strengthening the foundations of modern Afghanistan. The India-Afghanistan-Iran transit corridor agreement that we signed in May this year was another landmark in our partnership,” Modi said.
The Stor Palace, also known as Kasre-eastar (Stor Palace) was built during the reign of Amir Abdul Rahman Khan in 1880. Amir Habibullah Khan, the late King of Afghanistan, used to live in the Palace. Later, the Palace was used by renowned intellectual and reformer and the first Afghan Foreign Minister Mahmood Tarzi (1919-22 and 1924-27), as an office. “…. It (inauguration) brings back to life a valuable landmark of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage. The Stor palace has been the setting for many momentous historical events. To those who cannot see beyond shadows of violence in Afghanistan, the restored Stor palace is a reminder of the glory of Afghanistan’s rich traditions,” Modi said. During the several decades of conflict, Afghanistan has lost a major part of its cultural heritage and the destruction of Bamiyan Buddha by Taliban had shocked the world.