Mirwais Balkhi, the Deputy Chief of Mission and Ajmal Alimzai, the Cultural Attache to the Embassy of Afghanistan in New Delhi met with Shri Vanlalhuma, the Deputy Director General (Cultural)-Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) on August 25, 2017.

 The meeting aimed at discussing ways to further enhance the cultural relations between India and Afghanistan.

The Afghan DCM spoke about the cultural commonalities between the two nations during the meeting and emphasized on the significance of conducting cultural programs and events to further strengthen and enhance the relations between India and Afghanistan.

While discussing the different projects designed by the Afghan Cultural Attaché Mr. Balkhi was hopeful for the upcoming Indo-Afghanistan Cultural Week. He said celebration of the first Indo-Afghanistan Cultural Week will include different cultural programs and activities for a week which will highlight the cultural aspects of both the countries.

Organizing a joint cultural campaign in Indian institutes and universities for one year was another project which was discussed during the meeting.

Mr. Vanlalhuma welcomed and appreciated the initiatives undertaken by the Afghan Embassy and ensured cooperation in order to achieve the aim of the projects.

The new High Commissioner of Pakistan to India, H.E. Mr. Sohail Mahmood paid a courtesy call upon Ambassador Shaida Mohammad Abdali at the latter's office on August 25, 2017.

At the beginning, the Afghan Ambassador welcomed his newly appointed counterpart and congratulated him on his tenure.

The two envoys discussed the bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the entrenched relations between the people-to-people of both the nations.

Talking about the regional security issues, particularly terrorism, Dr. Abdali stressed on undertaking certain initiatives in order to counter terrorism and prevent people of the two nations to get victimized by it.

The Afghan Ambassador noted that during the past decade, Afghanistan’s expectation has been to acquire a political solution to the current chaos in the region. He added that the current security problem is not only pertinent to Afghanistan and Pakistan, in fact, it a matter of concern for the entire region.

In this meeting, Mr. Hamid Tahzeeb, the First Secretary to the Embassy of Afghanistan was also present.

Ambassador Abdali, met with V.K. Singh, State Minister, Ministry of External Affairs-India at the latter’s office on 24th August 2017.

The meeting aimed to discuss the current security issues concerning the region, bilateral ties between the two nations and the new strategy of United States for Afghanistan and South Asia.

At the outset, the duo exchanged views on recent developments made in the region and the ongoing security issues concerning the South Asian countries.

Hailing the new U.S. policy for Afghanistan and South Asia, the Afghan Ambassador termed it as a comprehensive one and added that it is an opportunity for all countries in South Asia to adhere to the principles of a state or government and to fight against terrorism sincerely.

Furthermore, Dr. Abdali noted that the new U.S. policy fulfills most security aspects of Afghanistan and the region.

Referring to President Trump’s call on India to further help Afghanistan, particularly in the areas of economic assistance and development, Mr. Singh said India will continue to assist Afghanistan with more developmental projects.

Both sides also discussed the upcoming Joint Partnership Council which will be attended by External Ministers of both nations in New Delhi and assessed it as a good opportunity to further strengthen bilateral relations between India and Afghanistan.

In this meeting, Mr. Hamid Tahzeeb, the First Secretary to the Embassy was also present.

Dr. Shaida Mohammad Abdali met with Riva Ganguly Das, Director General- Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at the latter’s office on 24th August 2017.

The meeting which was also attended by Ajmal Alimzai, the Cultural Attache and Sediqullah Sahar, the Educational aimed at discussing the Indo-Afghanistan cultural week and as well as various issues concerning  Afghan students who are availing  ICCR scholarships in India.

At the outset, Dr. Abdali, appreciated the ongoing joint effort in organizing the Indo-Afghanistan cultural week and touched upon its importance in further enhancing cultural ties between the two nations.

Referring to the joint cultural programs which will be organized by the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi in close coordination with India, the Afghan Ambassador stated that such programs will educate and provide knowledge to the students in knowing about both the nation’s culture and its history.

Director General of the ICCR updated the Afghan Ambassador on the progress achieved in securing 500 scholarships for the children of the martyrs of Afghan Security Forces and informed that the program will be inaugurated next year after finalizing the model and budget for the scholarships.

Dr. Abdali appreciated ICCR’s effort in procuring these scholarships and solicited the ICCR to incept skilled based scholarships for the Afghan students.

The duo also discussed over the concern for those students who are willing to shift to personal accommodations. Mrs. Das stated that only existing scholarship holders can have the privilege to shift to personal accommodations while it is compulsory for the new comers to stay in hostels.

The side issues of the meeting were establishment of an online admission to alumni and formation of a group by ICCR which will be addressing students’ problems on bi-weekly and monthly basis.

Recently, Mirwais Balkhi, Deputy Chief of Mission-Afghan Embassy met with Namrita Kumar, Deputy Head of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

During this meeting, DCM Balkhi spoke about Afghan students’ problems in India and exchanged views about celebrating Indo-Afghanistan cultural week, joint periodic seminars on Indo-Afghanistan culture and other related issues.

Suggesting an increase in student’s incentive, Mr. Balkhi noted that the current amount paid to the students cannot fully cover students’ expenses, and solicited ICCR to consider this issue on a serious basis.

Referring to those students who wish to shift from hostels to personal accommodations, Ms. Kumar said that only existing scholarship holders can use this facility and for the new students it is mandatory to live in hostels.

The ICCR also expressed commitment to organize the Indo-Afghan cultural week in November this year with close cooperation of the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi, as a joint celebration.