An ICWA Round Table on 'India-Afghanistan Relations: The Road Ahead' was held on 29 March 2019 at Sapru house, New Delhi. The Afghan side comprised of ten distinguished participants from Kabul, Helmand, Herat and Kandahar, representing a cross section of Afghan society. This included three distinguished women participants. The discussions took place under Chatham House Rules.
The Round Table was opened by Dr. T.C.A. Raghavan, DG, ICWA and Amb. Amar Sinha, Former Amb. of India to Afghanistan.
Session I was on 'The Current U.S. Initiative' which was chaired by Dr. Davood Moradian, Director General, Afghanistan Institute of Strategic Studies, Kabul. Amb. Gautam Mukhopadhyay, Former Ambassador of India to Afghanistan made the opening presentation.
Session II was on 'The Regional Imperative', which was chaired by Ms. Fawzia Koofi, Former Member of Parliament, Badakhshan. Amb. Rakesh Sood, Former Ambassador of India to Afghanistan made the opening presentation.
Other Speakers from Afghanistan included Ms. Farkhunda Zahra Naderi, Former Member of Parliament, Former Senior Advisor to President, Kabul; Ms. Raihana Azad, Member of Parliament, Daikundi; Mr. Zubair Massoud, Former Member, National Security Council, Kabul; Mr. Qudratullah Ahmadi, Vice Chancellor, Malalai University, Kandahar; Mr. Habib ur rahman Sayyaf, Member of Parliament, Kabul; Mr. Khalil Arghistani, Former ADB Project Manager, Kandahar; and Mr. Shah Mahmood Maqsoudy, Provincial Coordinator, Salehi Social Foundation, Helmand.
The two Sessions were followed by an interactive dinner at Hotel The Leela Palace, New Delhi. Keynote address at dinner was delivered by Mr. Attaullah Wahidyar, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Education. The dinner session was moderated by Amb. Vivek Katju, Former Ambassador of India to Afghanistan. Mr. Attaullah Wahidyar spoke on Importance of Afghan leadership in a Peace Process which should be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.
The Afghan delegates were unanimous in expressing deep appreciation for India’s current engagement in Afghanistan, in particular its development partnership programme of building key infrastructure and human resource capacity building, especially in health and education. They emphasized the deep cultural and ethnic affinities between the peoples of the two countries.
A two minute silence was observed at the beginning of the proceedings at the sad demise of Obaidullah Barakzai, former Member of Parliament, Uruzgan, who was to participate in the Round Table but was assassinated on 23 March 2019.
Representatives of the Indian diplomatic community, media persons and academia attended the event.