Jindal Global Lecture: Dr. Abdullah Abdullah speaks about India-Afghanistan relations

Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chief Executive, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan delivered the distinguished lecture hosted by OP Jindal Global University at its Sonipat campus on March 15, 2015, according to a media statement released by the university.

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While speaking about Afghanistan-India relations, Dr. Abdullah said: two countries have long standing relations which are not just Government to Government but people to people relations. There is great cultural affinity, mutual respect and civilisational commonality. Post 2001 India has emerged as the fifth biggest donor with a multi-dimensional role. I thank India for helping us when we were in dire crisis “He added that “Afghanistan is like a bridge between energy-rich Central Asia and fast industrializing India. With improved connectivity, if the SAARC countries can attain consensus and overcome negativity, India will benefit immensely from its closeness with Afghanistan.”

On the future of the relations between the two countries and India’s contributions in specific areas, he said: “There is no limit on what India can do for Afghanistan, strategically India is welcome to contribute in all areas, including education, human capacity building and in the security sector.”

Speaking on the relationship between the role of educational institutions and nation building, Dr. Abdullah said: “Afghanistan had been deprived for more than three decades and educational initiatives were disrupted by the war and terrorism.” He emphasized on the need for Indian assistance in the field of education in Afghanistan and thanked the Chancellor Mr. Naveen Jindal and Vice Chancellor Prof. Raj Kumar for their contributions toward the same.

Speaking on the forthcoming talks with the Taliban, Dr. Abdullah said that Afghanistan was for reconciliation but in a dignified manner to bring about peace which was durable. Discussing China’s role in facilitating the negotiations with the Taliban, Dr. Abdullah pointed out: ‘Support from China is welcome, but the talks have to be Afghan led and inclusive’.

The Lecture was attended by Diplomats, Scholars, Faculty members, Media and Students as well as an Afghan delegation including Shaida Mohammad Abdali, Ambassador of Afghanistan to India; Said Tayeb Jawad, Political and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Chief Executive of Afghanistan and Ahmad Zahir Anwari, Special Assistant to the Chief Executive.
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Welcoming Dr. Abdullah and other distinguished guests to the university Prof. C Raj Kumar Vice Chancellor O.P. Jindal Global University spoke about the various initiatives that the university had undertaken in Afghanistan. Kumar said: “We have been committed to significant institution building initiatives in Afghanistan for the last five years. Trainings of Afghan civil servants of various ministries on Human Resource Management, Good Governance and Public Administration under the Capacity Building for Results (CBR) Facility of the Ministry of Finance as well as capacity building for Ministry of Justice & capacity building for Ministry of Commerce and Industries, government of Afghanistan.”

Vice Chancellor Raj Kumar added: “We intend to do a lot more in the fields of research, training and capacity building of key civilian institutions in Afghanistan. We have just launched an Afghanistan Institution Building Initiative under the aegis of the International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building (IIHEd) at our university.”

Prof. Sreeram Chaulia, Dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, said: “India has unique endowments to help raise the human capital of Afghanistan in subjects such as agriculture, mining, governance reform, public administration, laws and justice. Our University is deeply involved with the Afghan government to fill the gaps in all these areas.”

OP Jindal Global University has also been doing institutional mentoring of the Nokhbagan Private Institute, Mazar-e-Sharif, and of the Afghanistan Institute of Higher Education, Kabul. The university has Afghan students pursuing full-time degree programmes and has recently announced the Jindal Afghanistan Scholarship and Empowerment Program (JASEP) offering 100 percent scholarship for five Afghan girls and 50% scholarship for all students from Afghanistan who wish to study at the Jindal Global University.

Prof. R Sudarshan Dean of Jindal School of Government and Public Policy gave the Vote of Thanks and expressed gratitude on behalf of the university to Dr. Abdullah Abdullah for taking out the time at such short notice and delivering such an enlightening lecture.

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