Afghan democracy can learn from India: Experts


New Delhi: Afghanistan may draw lessons in democracy from India to ensure participation of all ethic groups from across the embattled nation, Indian experts suggested Saturday.

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At a round-table here on Afghanistan, the suggestion was made by senior journalist Qamar Agha, a key watcher of the war-torn nation, emphasising that it should given up on the presidential form of democracy and shift to parliamentary democracy like India.

“In Afghanistan, the presidential form of government will not work. They should shift to parliamentary democracy like that of India so that all political and ethnic groups can participate and play a role in governance and may be join some kind of a coalition government or even a national government,” Agha said.

He also noted that the present presidential form of government was not perceived by the entire population as representing all ethnic groups. Afghanistan is a multi-ethnic nation having Pashtun, Tajik, Hazara, Uzbek, Aimak, Turkmen, Baloch, Pashai, Nuristani, Arab, Brahui and Pamiri people.

Agha also pointed out that the next two years, when the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) draws down combat troops from Afghanistan, will be crucial for institution building there and called for India playing a major role in such an effort.

Afghanistan is governed by President Hamid Karzai, who won re-election in August 2009. The country is bracing up for the exit of combat troops of the international force by 2014, the same year when the nation will go in for next round of presidential election.

At the event chaired by former diplomat I.P. Khosla, who has served as ambassador to Afghanistan, retired bureaucrat and South Asia expert Rana Banerji pointed out that Afghanistan, being an Islamic nation, can look at another Islamic nation such as Turkey for inspiration in democracy, but noted that the Turkish system had “a lot of flaws”.

He suggested that Afghans could “evolve a home-bread model” of democracy.

With egard to India’s role post-2014 in Afghanistan, Banerji pointed out that having Indian troops there was not a good idea.

“Having military boots on the ground is not feasible, considering the Afghanistan is a Muslim country and such kind of military interference is not appreciated.”

He, however, agreed that the threat to Indian institutions and projects in Afghanistan, where India has pledged $2 billion in all in development aid, will persists.

“With India carry out several projects in Afghanistan, securing our personnel on the ground will be an issue and we have to do something about it. The threat will not wither away. But out security forces should be there only for a limited purpose,” Banerji said.