President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, visited India from 20-22 May 2013 during which he was conferred with Doctoris Honoris Causa for Letters by the Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, Punjab, on 20 May 2013 and met Prime Minister and President separately on 21 May 2013.
The visit of President Karzai was his third Visit to India in the last three years after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's landmark visit to Afghanistan in May 2011 followed by his visits in October 2011 in which both the leaders signed the historic Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Afghanistan and India, and his subsequent State Visit to India in November 2012 which reinforced this partnership with a new business dimension.
During the course of his visit President Karzai also met senior BJP leader, L.K. Advani and a delegation of CEOs from the CII among others while in Delhi.
Earlier, in May 2012 the Partnership Council headed by the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan and India met in Delhi in May 2012 to review and advance this relationship. This was followed by the Delhi Investment Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry in June 2012 just before the Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan where the international community pledged continued development support for Afghanistan post 2014 under the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework.
Highlights of the Visit
• The visit of President Karzai was to enhance the strategic partnership between the two countries which have historic and civilizational ties going back several decades.
• As Afghanistan is moving towards its critical security, political and economic transitions marked by the drawdown of NATO forces and the Presidential elections in 2014, the strategic partnership between Afghanistan and India is supposed to play an important/crucial role in providing security and stability to Afghanistan. India is ready to stand by Afghanistan as close, friendly and historic neighbour through these transitions and play a due and responsible role in this regard.
• President Karzai's visit was a chance to review the status of ongoing Indian-assisted development projects in and for Afghanistan.
• President Karzai paid effusive tribute to India's development assistance for Afghanistan at his address in Lovely Professional University, Punjab highlighting role that India was playing in educating Afghanistan's youth in Indian universities.
• From the last few weeks in the month of May 2013, S. Ramadorai, Vice President of Tata Consultancy Services and M.S. Swaminathan, founder of the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation and Chairman of a Task Force constituted to establish the National Agricultural University of Afghanistan, have visited Kabul separately to explore the prospects of Indian investments in skill-building in Afghanistan and the Afghan economy and help realize the potential of Afghanistan's agricultural development respectively, areas where Indian industry and expertise can contribute.
• The development of work on the Salma Dam and the new Parliament building was also reviewed. It was agreed to speed up and complete the work on the new Parliament building in the first half of the year.
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