Karzai invited to address Indian MPs

India has invited India has invitedAfghan President Hamid Karzai to speak on democracy at the Parliament’s Central Hall next week.

The invitation to Karzai to deliver the fifth Professor Hiren Mukerjee Memorial Annual Parliamentary Lecture here on December 13 next appears to be a move by New Delhi to underscore its strong support to the fledgling democracy in Afghanistan, set to go through security and political transitions in 2014.

Karzai, who has been president of Afghanistan since 2001, will relinquish office after the Presidential elections in his country in April 2014.

He has accepted the invitation and is set to speak on “Afghanistan’s Experience in Constitutionalism and Democracy: Lessons we take from India”.

New Delhi’s invitation to Karzai to address the members of the Indian Parliament and others also assumes significance as it comes at a time when the Afghan president is resisting pressure from the United States to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) at an early date.

The proposed BSA is intended to determine the role of the American troops in Afghanistan beyond December 2014, when the majority of the US-led International Security Assistance Force would be withdrawn from combat duty in the country.

Karzai, however, said that he would sign the deal only when the US-led forces would halt all military operations on civilian homes in Afghanistan, return Afghan citizens held in the American prison facility in Guantanamo Bay and help restart the stalled peace-process with Taliban. The conditions irked the US and Washington threatened that it might consider leaving no US or NATO soldier in Afghanistan after the withdrawal in 2014.

New Delhi wants Washington and Kabul to sign the BSA.

Comments (+)