Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Tuesday for his re-election for a second five-year term and assured him India's support for the Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and controlled peace process in the war-torn country.
Afghan election officials on Sunday announced that President Ghani secured 50.64 per cent votes amid allegations of fraud and malpractice in the September 28 election. Ghani's rival Abdullah Abdullah has rejected the result and announced to challenge it.
"My dear friend and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, called this afternoon to congratulate me on winning the preliminary results and the Afghan people on the successful presidential elections," Ghani said in a series of tweets on Tuesday.
"He said, India as a friend, neighbour and the world's largest democracy is fully supporting Afghanistan's democratic rule. India supports the Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and controlled peace process. And we are also with Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism," Ghani said.
Responding to Ghani's tweets, Prime Minister Modi said India will always support Afghanistan in their developmental needs and to fulfil the aspirations of Afghanistan's people.
"Close strategic partnership between our people benefits our nations," Modi said, asserting that India values the strong friendship with Afghanistan.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi said Modi extended an invitation to President Ghani to visit India at early mutual convenience. The invitation was accepted.
Reiterating India's abiding commitment as a close friend and neighbour to a unified, sovereign, democratic, prosperous and peaceful Afghanistan, the prime minister underlined India's principled support to an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled, the statement said.
Modi also complimented the people of Afghanistan on the successful conduct of the elections and the subsequent process in face of daunting challenges, which represents the strengthening of roots of democracy in Afghanistan, according to the statement.
President Ghani, who had congratulated Prime Minister Modi on his re-election in May, appreciated Modi on behalf of the people of Afghanistan, not only for being a good neighbor and friend, but also for India's strategic partnership.
"Mr Modi said, India is your second home, and offered a formal invitation to visit. We will discuss a range of regional and international issues during this visit. I thank the Prime Minister for the invitation and will travel to India at an appropriate time," Ghani said.
India has been a key stakeholder in Afghanistan and has already spent around USD 3 billion in reconstruction of the war-ravaged country. India was strongly pushing for holding presidential elections in the country.