On visit,Karzai thanks ‘friend India’

President Pranab Mukherjee confers honorary degree on Afghan President

Written by Express News Service | Phagwara | Updated: April 14, 2014 2:22 pm

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai,who was awarded an honorary doctorate degree by President Pranab Mukherjee at Lovely Professional University (LPU) in Jalandhar on Monday,called India a friend and a country rising fast in economical,industrial and social arenas.

Sharing the dais with Mukherjee,who called upon universities across the country to lay due emphasis on imparting vocational training to youths,Karzai said 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.

“Education can change the minds of youths and the time has come for us to introspect. If a society cannot respect women,it cannot move forward. Every year,around 12 million Indians are added to the working population of the world. By 2020,two-third of the working population will be in India. While it will be a great asset if it is a productive asset,it will be a great liability if we don’t instill skills required for employment,” said Mukherjee,who was the chief guest at the LPU convocation.

He added that according to a survey,only seven per cent Indians of working age received vocational training while a majority of them received non-formal training.

Referring to Takshashila and Nalanda universities,which attracted students from all over the world,the President said: “These universities illuminated the minds of students for over 1,000 years. Sadly,out of the 200 best universities of the world (currently),not even one is an Indian university.”

Asked why did India had to wait for 83 years for a Nobel prize in the original research category,Mukherjee said: “Outstanding personalities who won Nobels were Indians but worked in universities abroad… … At least one university must take the lead in research and development… I agree there is a shortage of faculty but we can take advantage of technology like e-class room. Out-of-the-box thinking and innovative measures are the need of the hour.”

“It is indeed commendable that LPU has extensively used technology to manage 40,000 students. Education can change the minds of youth and build their future,” said the President.

Meanwhile,highlighting the need for development of education,especially higher education,in Afghanistan,Karzai said LPU Chancellor Ashok Mittal had assured him that he will admit as many students in his university from Afghanistan as the country sent on scholarships. He added that while India had 2,000 Afghan students studying in its various universities,LPU had 22 Afghan students.

Karzai,who is here on a three-day visit to India,said: “India,as a friend of Afghanistan,has made immense contribution in uplifting its youths. India has contributed $2 billion from the hard-earned money of its tax payers for the betterment of Afghanistan.”

Lauding India’s fast growth in industry,technology and economy,he added: “India is on the path of progress and prosperity. It is one of the greatest civilisations on earth. The power and energy you (students and youths) generate is good for India and beyond.”

Expressing his gratitude to LPU for conferring him with the honorary doctorate degree,Karzai said: “LPU is probably one of the few universities,which has not only grown in terms of size but has set high standards of education coupled with state-of-the-art infrastructure.”

In his message to students,he said: “You are the citizens of India and the world and you represent a country that is fast rising in economical,industrial and social growth. Your presence is felt all around. Keep progressing and at the same time,remember your culture and use your energy for the country’s welfare.”

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