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Unprecedented response to Prime Minister's offer of scholarships to Afghan students

New Delhi
March 8, 2006 

During his official visit to Afghanistan in August 2005 the Prime Minister of India had announced grant of 500 scholarships for the Afghan students for pursuing University education in India. 

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), New Delhi has been mandated to administer the scheme of scholarship for Afghan students. The scholarship offer includes all university level under-graduate and post-graduate courses in Arts, Science, Engineering, Commerce, Business Administration and Law. The detailed offer of scholarships for the academic year 2006 – 07, was announced by us in Afghanistan in February 2006 through the Embassy of India, Kabul. The response to the Indian offer has been overwhelming. Around 12,000 candidates are reported to have registered themselves for the pre-selection English language proficiency test, including 6500 candidates in Kabul, 2500 in Jalalabad, 1500 in Mazar-e-Sharif, 650 in Herat and 420 in Kandahar. On the basis of the results in the English language proficiency test and oral interviews conducted by the Embassy of India, 500 most meritorious students will be short-listed for award of scholarship and thereafter the ICCR will be processing the same with the various universities for finalizing the admissions. 

The offer of scholarship by India has been widely reported in the Afghan media, including national and regional TV channels as also national and local radio stations besides various Afghan news dailies. According to the Afghan Ministry of Higher Education, with whom the Embassy of India, Kabul has been coordinating selection of candidates, the response received for the scholarship scheme has been “revolutionary, never witnessed before in Afghanistan.” 

It may be mentioned that currently ICCR offers 1200 scholarships every year to foreign students to pursue under-graduate, post graduate and also Ph.D. courses in India. The grant of scholarships to Afghan students, which is in addition to the general scholarships already offered by ICCR, is an important positive step forward in strengthening and promoting our cultural ties with Afghanistan, and it also adds another new dimension to the already warm and friendly relations between the two countries, based on mutual trust and understanding.