An Opportunity to Understand Nepali Perspectives
UPENDRA YADAV and PRANAB MUKHERJEE, foreign ministers of Nepal and India, emphasize understanding and cooperation.
Minister of External Affairs of India, His Excellency Pranab Mukherjee is completing his official visit to Nepal, who arrived here at my invitation on November 24. There have been high level visits, and frequent high-level interactions between our two countries in the recent months. These interactions have given fresh momentum to our relations and many bilateral mechanisms have been reactivated. This visit provided, both to His Excellency Mukherjee and myself, an excellent opportunity to review the progress so far made in various aspects of our relationship. We discussed all these issues in a cordial atmosphere.
As we all know, Nepal and India enjoy strong bonds of friendship. Our friendship is based upon shared values, culture and common aspirations. We enjoy extensive and multi-dimensional relations with India. I would like to stress that our relationship has been further enriched by equally extensive interactions at people to people level. It is against this background, the visit of His Excellency Mukherjee will contribute to further enhancing this relationship so happily subsisting between our two countries. This is the first visit of its level from India after the elections to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal. During this visit, we held bilateral talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday. India has always expressed its support for peace process and democratic transition. His Excellency reaffirmed that during the talks.
During the bilateral talks, we looked into various issues taken up by the Commerce Secretaries, Home Secretaries and Water Resources Secretaries during their recent meetings. We are happy at the progress they have made in their respective areas. We discussed the ways to further consolidate the cooperation in those areas.
Both His Excellency Mukherjee and myself have stressed and agreed that Kosi embankment has to be reconstructed and Kosi River brought to its original alignment by March 2009. We also discussed issues related to inundation problem, and construction of 400 KV transmissions line. In view of our national vision of developing 10,000 megawatts of hydro-electricity in ten years and also implementing other mega-projects in Nepal, we agreed to further encourage investments in Nepal from Indian private and public sectors.
We shared our views on the issues of Nepal India border and cross border crimes.
It is a matter of great satisfaction to note that development projects like Terai road project, which includes our Hulaki Road, is ready for implementation. We stressed on their speedy implementation to improve connectivity and enhance economic opportunities of the people through this project. We also discussed the upgradation and extension of the Jayanagar-Janakpur railway and the study of the East-West Railway.
His Excellency Mukherjee also met senior political leaders. His Excellency Mukherjee also had an aerial overview of the breached section of Koshi embankment today.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that the present visit of His Excellency the Minister of External Affairs of India have contributed in further enhancing the multi-dimensional relationship between our two countries. I am confident that this process would continue in the days ahead.
Opening Statement to the Press by Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Upendra Yadav at the joint press conference held at Tribhuvan International Airport, November 26, 2008, addressed to the External Affairs Minister of India and
representatives of the media.
Opening Statement by Indian External Minister Pranab Mukherjee
I am very happy to interact with you at the end of my visit to Nepal, a country close to my heart. I feel privileged to be the first Union Minister of India to visit Nepal after the elections to the Constituent Assembly. As you know, the purpose of my visit was to continue the process of regular high level exchanges between our two friendly countries, review the progress on bilateral cooperation, meet with political leaders of Nepal and take forward the process of strengthening our bilateral relations.
I called on the President, the Vice President and the Chairman of the Constituent Assembly and met with a wide section of leaders of Nepal. I also called on the Prime Minister and had discussions with Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav. In each of these meetings I found a strong mutual desire to carry forward the unique relationship that our two countries enjoy.
During my call on President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, I conveyed to him invitation from our President to visit India at mutually convenient dates.
During my call on the Prime Minister, we reviewed the progress on the decisions taken during his visit to India in September this year and exchanged views on other important issues. As you know, since Prime Minister Prachanda’s visit, bilateral mechanisms have been activated and Water Resources, Commerce and Home Secretary level talks have taken place. We intend to take the required follow up measures to ensure continued progress.
I also held detailed discussions with my colleague, the Foreign Minister of Nepal with whom this was my fifth meeting in the last three months.
I was also able to interact with a number of leaders from a cross section of political parties. One such occasion, a joint Interactive session with members of the Constituent Assembly, was an opportunity to understand their perspectives on the ongoing efforts to institutionalize multi-party democracy in Nepal. I conveyed to them our best wishes for the successful and timely completion of the process to draft a new Constitution which will reflect the aspirations of all the people of Nepal. I reiterated India’s commitment to support the government and the people of Nepal in their quest to build multi-party democracy.
I met with leaders from the Madhesi parties. I assured them of our support for the economic and social development of the Terai area, including through better infrastructure and connectivity with India.
We discussed security concerns and agreed to address these effectively by strengthening bilateral mechanisms in this area.
As you know the Government of Nepal has set a target of generating 10,000 MW of power over the next ten years. We discussed how to expedite mutually beneficial cooperation in this important sector.
All my discussions with dignitaries in Nepal have been marked by cordiality and warmth. We will continue our efforts to impart new dynamism to our close, friendly and long standing bilateral ties with Nepal and to further strengthen our wide-ranging cooperation for mutual benefit.
Representatives of the Indian business community in Nepal, who are contributing to Nepal’s economic development, brought out some concerns. We have again taken these up with the Nepalese government which has assured action.
This morning I undertook an aerial survey of the Kosi area and paid a short visit to Birgunj. We are working closely with Nepal to ensure work on Kosi breach is completed by March, 2009. Progress is being monitored closely.
During my visit to Birgunj, I was given a presentation on a project to provide world-class infrastructure to facilitate movement of goods and people across the border through a modern Integrated Check Post.
I leave Nepal satisfied with my visit. It was a timely opportunity to meet the leadership of Nepal, a country with which we have unique and close bonds of friendship and fraternity. I am deeply touched by the warmth and affection with which I was received.
I sincerely thank my distinguished colleague the Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Nepal and his colleagues for the warm and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation. Thank you.
Opening Statement by External Affairs Minister of India, Pranab Mukherjee, at the Joint Press Conference (Nov 26/08) with Upendra Yadav, Nepal’s foreign minister. The statement begins with the address “My colleague Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Nepal, Friends from media.”
Text of Joint-Press Conference in Kathmandu
The Minister of External Affairs of India His Excellency Mr. Pranab Mukherjee paid an official visit to Nepal from November 24-26, 2008 at the invitation of Hon. Mr. Upendra Yadav, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal.
2. During his visit, the Minister of External Affairs of India called on Rt. Hon. Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, the President of Nepal, Rt. Hon. Mr. Parmananda Jha, the Vice President of Nepal, and Rt. Hon. Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', the Prime Minister of Nepal. The Minister of External Affairs of India also called on the Rt. Hon. Chairman of the Constituent Assembly, Mr. Subas Chandra Nembang and held an interactive session with leaders of parties in the Constituent Assembly. During his visit, the Minister of External Affairs of India held official talks with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal on all issues of mutual interest. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal hosted a dinner in honor of the Minister of External Affairs of India. The Minister of External Affairs of India undertook an aerial overview of the Kosi area and also visited Birgunj.
3. The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal extended a warm welcome to the Minister of External Affairs of India. The two Foreign Ministers shared views on aspects of the bilateral relationship, which is characterized by close, cordial and extensive interactions at the government as well as at the people to people levels. They expressed their commitment to further consolidate the relationship in future.
4. The Minister of External Affairs of India noted that this was the first high level visit from India to Nepal after the elections to the Constituent Assembly of Nepal and expressed India’s continued support to Nepal in its transition to multiparty democracy.
5. The two Foreign Ministers recalled the official visit by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' to India in September 2008 as well as the bilateral meeting between the two Prime Ministers earlier this month on the margins of the BIMSTEC Summit in New Delhi. The two Foreign Ministers also noted with satisfaction that this was their fifth meeting after the assumption of office by a new government in Nepal in August 2008. They recognized that bilateral interactions at high levels have imparted new dynamism to the relationship between the two countries in tune with the changing realities of the time as well as the wishes and aspirations of the peoples of both countries.
6. The Ministers reviewed implementation of actionable points in the Joint Press Statement on the official visit of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister of Nepal to India from September 14-18, 2008. It was noted with satisfaction that several decisions had been implemented, such as:
(i) Meeting of Home Secretaries of the two countries in New Delhi on October 31-November 1, 2008 which agreed on further steps to enhance cooperation in dealing with cross-border crimes and addressing shared security concerns.
(ii) The Joint Committee on Water Resources at the level of Water Resources Secretaries of the two countries met in Kathmandu from 29 September- 1 October 2008 and reviewed all aspects of bilateral cooperation in the field of water resources in a forward looking and mutually beneficial framework.
(iii) The Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) at the level of Commerce Secretaries met in Delhi on 19-20 October 2008 and discussed steps to bolster and develop bilateral trade and to conclude the revision of the Treaty of Trade at the earliest.
7. It was acknowledged that the recent high-level meetings of existing bilateral mechanisms have reactivated bilateral relations in key areas. The two Foreign Ministers stressed the need to continue this process and implement relevant decisions taken at these meetings.
8. Both Ministers discussed steps to promote cooperation in the hydro-power sector. With a view to work towards realisation of Government of Nepal’s target of generating 10000 MW over the next 10 years, both Ministers agreed that existing and future projects in this area should be pursued expeditiously.
9. The two Ministers reviewed ongoing works to rehabilitate the breached portion of the Kosi embankment and stressed the need to expedite work so that it is concluded by March 2009.
10. The Nepalese side appreciated the removal of ban on the export of some essential commodities to Nepal by the Government of India. The two sides agreed to review Nepal’s requirements from time to time. While taking note of the removal of some of the barriers to trade, both Ministers agreed to hold regular discussions to further facilitate bilateral trade between the two countries.
11. The Minister of External Affairs of India pointed out that concerns remain about the business environment in Nepal affecting existing Indian investments and joint ventures. He requested that these issues be addressed urgently and effectively. The Nepalese side reiterated the commitment of the Government of Nepal to take necessary measures for the promotion of an investor-friendly business environment to encourage Indian public and private sector investments in Nepal.
12. The two Ministers discussed issues relating to management of the open border between the two countries. It was agreed that necessary steps would be taken to have effective institutional and other mechanisms to address cross-border crimes and shared security concerns based on agreements reached at the recent Home Secretary level talks.
13. The two Ministers noted that Joint Technical Committee on the boundary had completed scientific strip mapping of about 98% of Nepal-India border and agreed to take further necessary steps for signature of the agreed strip maps at an early date. They also directed the officials concerned to expeditiously resolve the outstanding issues relating to the boundary.
14. The Nepalese side expressed its sincere appreciation to the Government and people of India for the generous assistance that India has been providing over the years in various fields of development activities in Nepal. In continuation of this process, both sides would study the feasibility of railway projects in Nepal. The Nepalese side appreciated Government of India’s support for Terai Roads Project. It was decided that necessary preparatory work for undertaking this project would be expedited.
15. The Indian side reiterated the commitment of the Government of India to continue assisting the Government and people of Nepal in its democratic transition and economic development.
16. The External Affairs Minister of India handed over a formal invitation from the President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil to Rt. Hon. President of Nepal Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to visit India at an early, mutually convenient date.
November 26, 2008
Joint Press Statement on Official Visit of Pranab Mukherjee, minister of external affairs of India, to Nepal (24-26 November 2008)
Posted by Editor on November 27, 2008 11:20 AM