India visit will focus on strengthening bilateral ties, clearing all doubts: Prachanda

Kathmandu: Ahead of his India visit, Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda said on Tuesday the main thrust of his trip would be to "clear all doubts" in bilateral ties and build an environment of confidence and trust.

Prachanda will travel to New Delhi on 15 September for a four-day goodwill visit, his first foreign visit after assuming power some six weeks ago. "The main expectation of my visit is to improve and strengthen Nepal-India relations that have gone through some bitter experiences in the recent past," said 61-year-old Prachanda responding to a question during an interaction with
a group foreign correspondents at his official residence in Baluwatar.

"I am also expecting that India would help us to get out of the current difficult situation that would help strengthen our ties," he said. "What had happened last year (indicating to border blockade) was very much painful to the Nepalese people and it was also not a pleasant thing for India," said Prachanda adding, "we will move towards adding a new dimension in the bilateral relations by learning from the past."

 India visit will focus on strengthening bilateral ties, clearing all doubts: Prachanda

File image of Prachanda. Reuters

"My visit will clear all doubts and an environment of confidence and trust will be built," he claimed. Prachanda said the environment in Delhi is favourable for Nepal this time as he had sensed from Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat, who had just concluded his two-day visit to India.

"From the feedback I received from our Foreign Minister, it is certain that this time I would not have to bear much pressure during my visit to Delhi this time and I will be visiting there in a much relaxed manner," said the Prime Minister.

Prachanda said he would hold discussions on Wednesday with the Madhesi parties and other ethnic groups, that had launched months long anti-Constitution agitation last year resulting in death of over 50 people, to resolve the crisis.

"I will hold talks with the agitating parties to address their key demands including re-demarcation of provincial boundary and citizenship issue, and I am hopeful of reaching an agreement with them to amend the Constitution by accommodating their demands," Prachanda said.

He said that he would do everything to make the new Constitution acceptable to all the sections of Nepalese society including the Madhesis and ethnic minority groups and also expressed hope that "an environment would be created for India to welcome it." He said his government is committed to develop a balanced, warm and cordial relations with the neighbouring countries and for the purpose he had recently sent his special envoys to India and China soon after assuming office.

Prachanda had sent Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to China and Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi to India as special envoys.

Prachanda said that Nepal is expecting high-level important visits within this year from both the neighbouring countries. After Prachanda's visit to Delhi, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Chinese Prime Minister are expected to visit Nepal in November.

Prachanda said he was also expecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Nepal within a couple of months, adding "this time I will extend him invitation to visit Janakpur, Lumbini and Muktinath, important Hindu and Buddhist pilgrim sites of Nepal."

He said during his visit to India, he will emphasise on expediting and implementing already agreed projects between the two nations rather than signing new agreements. To a question whether Nepal is still committed to generating 10,000 MW of electricity within ten years, which he had promised during his first tenure, Prachanda said, "The scenario has changed and now we have to generate 20,000 MW of electricity in the next ten years."

He said discussions will be held to move forward Mahakali project, Pancheshwor project as well as development of rural roads and east-west railway line construction in the country with the Indian officials during the visit.

Prachanda said he would also ask India to provide a grant a 400 MW Lower Arun hydropower project.

In the past, India had assured to provide money to construct 250 MW Naumure hydropower, which could not be materialised due to unfavourable situation. Prachanda also promised to provide additional Rs 100,000 to each of the 5 lakh families affected by the last year's earthquakes.

The government has already promised to provide Rs 200,000 as financial assistance to rebuild their houses. During his visit to India, Prachanda said he would also seek additional grants meant for post-quake reconstruction works.

India last year promised to provide USD one billion financial assistance to Nepal for the reconstruction works after the devastating earthquakes.

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Updated Date: Sep 13, 2016 21:53:52 IST