H.E. President Hamid Karzai, leading a high-level delegation, arrived in India on May 20 on a two-day visit.

During his two-day visit, H.E. President Karzai met with H. E. President Pranab Mukherjee, H. E. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. L. K. Advani, a number Afghan Sikhs residing in India and a business delegation from India. Discussions at the meetings with the President and Prime Minister of India focused on ways to enhance bilateral relations in various areas, strengthening of Afghan civil and military institutions, regional affairs and other issues of mutual interest.

During the visit, H.E. President Karzai also received an honorary doctorate from the Lovely Professional University (LPU) – Punjab, India at a formal ceremony, attended by the President of India.

In this visit, the President was accompanied by Foreign Minister Dr. Zalmai Rasoul, National Security Advisor Dr. Spanta, Cultural Advisor to the President Mr. Zalmai Hewadmal and President’s Spokesperson Mr. Aimal Faizi.

H. E. President Hamid Karzai Receives Honorary Doctorate from Lovely Professional University of India :

The first part of the visit was to the State of Punjab, where H. E. President Karzai was conferred on with an honorary doctorate by Lovely Professional University at its third convocation.

The 3rd Convocation held at LPU University in Jalandhar city of Punjab, was also attended by the President of India, H. E. Pranab Mukherjee , Honorable Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab state, LPU professors and students.Initially, welcoming and expressing gratitude to both the Presidents of Afghanistan and India for sparing valuable time and accepting University’s invitations, LPU Chancellor Mr. Ashok Mittal thanked President Karzai who made it possible to come all the way from Kabul to accept the Honorary Doctorate.

President Pranab Mukherjee then conferred the Degree of Doctorate-Honoris Causa on President Karzai for his outstanding services in development and upliftment of Afghanistan, particularly in areas of education, infrastructures, health, economy and international relations.

After the doctorate degree was conferred on President Karzai, the Honorable Governor of Punjab congratulated the President and called him “a great friend of India”, adding that the Lovely Professional University and the people of Punjab would always remember his attendance at the third LPU Convocation.

Delivering a convocational address, President Karzai said that he was humbled to have the degree from a university which was “amazing by all standards of academic excellence and grandeur in size and the biggest university of India”, hosting more than 30000 students from 25 countries of the world.

Highlighting the need for development of higher education in Afghanistan, President Karzai said the Chancellor of LPU Ashok Mittal had assured him to take as many as 50 students in his university from Afghanistan on scholarships financed by the Government of Afghanistan.

The President added, “India, as a friend of Afghanistan, has made immense contribution in higher education of Afghan youth”, noting that currently, over 2000 Afghan students are pursuing their higher education in various universities of India on scholarships provided by the Indian Government and thousands of others completed their higher education on similar scholarships in the past few years. President Karzai said that India not only has helped Afghanistan in education of its youth but it has also contributed over $2 billion from the hard-earned money of its tax payers for the betterment of Afghanistan in various areas.

On behalf of the people of Afghanistan, the President thanked India for the assistance and support it has delivered. Addressing LPU students, President Karzai said, "India is on the path of progress and prosperity. It is one of the greatest civilizations on earth. The power and energy you generate is good for India and beyond."

The Lovely Professional University is one of the greatest private universities, located in the Punjab state of India which hosts over 30000 students from 28 states of India and 25 countries of the world. The 3rdLPU Annual Convocation, attended by both the Presidents of Afghanistan and India, conferred bachelor and master degrees to 7775 students and awarded 19 gold medals to meritorious students for their outstanding performance.

H. E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan called on H. E. President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 21, 2013:

During his two-day visit to India, the President of Afghanistan, H. E. Hamid Karzai called on H. E. Pranab Mukherjee, President of the Republic of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 21, 2013.

During this meeting, the President of India said: “India would stand by the Government and the people of Afghanistan in the critical period of transition, development and nation-building. India is proud to partner the Government and people of Afghanistan in their efforts towards reconstruction and development of Afghanistan”.

The President said we should strengthen and deepen India-Afghanistan relations in all areas as prescribed in the Strategic Partnership Agreement. He added: “India is prepared to increase bilateral contribution to institution-building, training and equipment to the extent India can”, to support the Afghan National Security Forces.

President Karzai warmly reciprocated the President’s words and said: “India is amongst the closest of countries to Afghanistan and according to many surveys, the country most liked by the Afghan people. India-Afghan relations stand today on solid cemented grounds. Our relations are greater than any time before”.

H. E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan called on H. E. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 21, 2013 :

Later in the evening of May 21, H. E. President Karzai called on H. E. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The two sides discussed bilateral relations, security and stability in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and other regional issues.The two sides also evaluated all aspects of the cooperation between Afghanistan and India in security, defense and economic arenas.

The leaders of both the countries stressed on their joint commitment for implementing and enhancing strategic cooperation under the framework of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Afghanistan and India. The leaders also reaffirmed commitment to broaden cooperation in all areas in the interest of their peoples, peace and security, economic development of Afghanistan and India as well as regional stability.

H. E. President Karzai Met with Indian Investors and Businessmen for Investments in Afghanistan:

On the 2nd day of his visit, H. E. President Hamid Karzai met with a number of Indian businessmen and investors.

The meeting was held at the President’s residence in Delhi, where discussions were made on good opportunities available in Afghanistan for investments in telecommunications, health and agriculture. President Karzai briefed the Indian businessmen and investors on the many opportunities available for investments in the above areas. Showing their interest in investments, particularly in the telecommunications, health and agriculture sectors, Indian businessmen and investors said that they would soon send a delegation to closely assess the investment opportunities in Afghanistan.

In attendance to the meeting were Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, the Director General of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr. Malvinder Mohan Singh, Executive Chairman of Fortis Healthcare, Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal, the Managing Director of Bharti Enterprises- one of India’s leading business groups operating in the areas of telecommunications, insurance and food processing in 21 countries of the world.

Separately, President Hamid Karzai met at noon of May 22 with a number of Sikh and Hindu Afghans in his residence in New Delhi. Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who attended the meeting briefed President Karzai on their problems.

They also said that they have always remembered their homeland and wanted to return to Kabul, Khost, Kandahar, Nangarhar provinces and other areas where they previously had lived and owned estates. Encouraging them to return to their country, President Karzai reassured that the government of Afghanistan would cooperate in restituting their estates.

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