New Delhi: Reflecting their growing bilateral relations, India today named a road in the national capital after the slain Afghan war hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud, the first such honour extended to a leader from that country.
The road, near the Afghanistan embassy in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri, was a “symbol of ties” that bind the two nations that have always “enjoyed excellent relations”, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said unveiling the plaque with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai here.
Describing Massoud as a visionary and friend of India, Mukherjee said ‘the Lion of Panjsheer’, as he is known, understood the threat of “globalization of terror” and fought, dreamt and prayed all his life for a free Afghanistan, which is a reality today.
“This road is a symbol of ties that bind India and Afghanistan and will pave the way for even stronger ties between the two countries,” the minister added.
Expressing his gratitude, Karzai remembered Massoud as a friend who waged a struggle against “Al-Qaeda, interference from neighbours and the rule of terror in Afghanistan.”
“He was so important in the war against terror and for the freedom of Afghanistan that terrorism found every possible way to get him out of their way and that was to assassinate him.... Afghanistan is honoured to have him as its hero,” he said.
Massoud joins world leaders like Uruguay’s national hero Jose Artigas, Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbaiuly, Irish leader Eamon De Valera, novelist Andre Malraux and Argentinian icon Jose De San Martin, who have roads named after them in Lutyen’s Delhi.