Mukherjee congratulates Nepalis for satute promulgation
Kathmandu, November 2
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee today congratulated the Nepali people for promulgating the new constitution of Nepal last year and its subsequent amendment.
“The president of India congratulated the president of Nepal, Nepali people and the Constituent Assembly for launching the Constitution last year and its subsequent amendment,” read a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Indian head of state acknowledged the adoption of the new Charter, when he held bilateral talks with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at Shital Niwas this afternoon.
Mukherjee also reiterated the earlier invitation to President Bhandari to visit India at her earliest convenience, to which the latter responded positively, according to Bharat Raj Paudyal, spokesperson of MoFA.
At the invitation of President Bhandari, Mukherjee had arrived for a three-day state-visit in a special aircraft today.
President Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other top officials received the Indian president at the VVIP lounge of Tribhuvan International Airport. He was offered a guard of honour with 21-gun salute.
Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun and Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal called separately on Mukherjee at Hotel Hyatt, where he is staying, and discussed a wide range of issues related to deepening bilateral relations.
Vice-president Pun, in his meeting with Mukherjee, underscored the enhanced cooperation between the two countries in areas of hydropower, connectivity and waterways, according to MoFA.
Mukherjee reiterated India’s long-held official position that it wanted to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Nepal.
He is the first Indian president to visit Nepal in 18 years. KR Narayan was the last head of state of the southern neighbour, who visited Nepal in May 1998.
President Bhandari hosted a state banquet at Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza in honour of her visiting counterpart.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae hosted a reception in honour of President Mukherjee at his Lainchaur residence, where Vice-president Pun, serving ministers, former prime ministers, ministers, and other dignitaries were present.
As per his itinerary, Mukherjee will offer special puja at Pashupatinath temple tomorrow morning. He will also receive honorary doctorate from Kathmandu University and grace a civic reception organised by Kathmandu Metropolitan City in his honour.
Later, he will address a seminar on Nepal-India relations jointly organised by the Indian foundation Neeti Prathisthan Nepal and Nepal Centre for Contemporary Studies. Political leaders, including former president Ram Baran Yadav will call on him.
On Friday, he will visit Janakpur and offer special puja at Janaki temple and also grace a civic reception there. From there, the Indian head of state will fly to Pokhara to address and interact with ex-Indian soldiers.
He will return home on Friday evening.
Transcript of President Bidya Devi Bhandari's banquet speech
Your Excellency Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
On behalf of the Government and people of Nepal as well as on my own, I have the pleasure to extend a cordial welcome to Your Excellency and members of your delegation on your State Visit to Nepal.
We attach great importance to this State Visit as it has taken place after a long period of eighteen years. We are confident that your visit will be fruitful in further enhancing bilateral relations to our mutual advantage.
The people of Nepal hold you in high esteem as a good friend and a senior statesman of South Asia dedicated to the service of the country for five decades.
Nepal and India enjoy age-old relations marked by cordiality, goodwill, equality and mutual respect. Such closeness is further nurtured by strong social and cultural bonds and people-to-people ties.
We appreciate India’s support in Nepal’s development endeavours. India has made considerable progress in various fields during the last seven decades. We are keen to further expand and enhance bilateral economic relations.
We are grateful to the Government and people of India for their support for relief and rescue operations and reconstruction activities after the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal eighteen months ago.
The Government of Nepal is now engaged in construction of houses and renovation of precious heritage sites and physical infrastructures affected by earthquake, and reconstruction campaign. We are confident that this endeavour will be successful with national resolve and goodwill of friendly countries.
The focus of the Constitution of Nepal promulgated last year is to safeguard and consolidate democratic gains that we have made in recent times. Our emphasis is now on execution of the constitution, post-earthquake reconstruction, and social and economic transformation to achieve national prosperity.
Nepal is a glorious country endowed with natural scenery and diverse culture. Tourists and explorers including Indians visit Nepal in large numbers.
As the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, an apostle of world peace, fraternity, compassion and humanity, we have been following a policy of enhancing peace and prosperity in our neighbourhood and rest of the world.
The aspirations of the people all over the world have grown tremendously with the evolution of democracy and unprecedented growth in social consciousness. Taking this aspect into consideration, world peace and prosperity can be ensured through observance of the rule of law and norms and values of human rights and equality, and just and universal distribution of the fruits of science and technology for raising the standards of living of the people.
It is a paradox that South Asia though endowed with human and material resources, has the largest concentration of poor people in the world.
As poverty alleviation is the crying need of the region, we should enhance peace, stability and development, utilise available resources and create employment opportunities for people as a matter of priority.
Promotion of mutual understanding and trust among nations will make a solid contribution for development of the region at a faster pace.
As women and children are the greatest victims of poverty, deprivation and conflict, we should enhance women empowerment and promote welfare of children to make the future generation more competitive and capable. We should also enhance the standards of comprehensive education and public health. Food security, potable water, sanitation and energy supply are other core areas.
There is a need to jointly tackle negative impact of climate change and undertake suitable adaptation and mitigation measures with a view to safeguarding human lives and ensuring a secure and sustainable earth to posterity.
There is no doubt that your State Visit is sure to give a new momentum to our close bilateral ties, as it has come after regular exchange of visits by Prime Ministers of the two countries in the last two years.
Nepal is not a new place for you, as you have been here earlier. As you are visiting the historic city of Janakpur that remains a symbol of cultural relations between Nepal and India, and beautiful touristic city of Pokhara apart from Kathmandu, you will have the opportunity to study Nepal's natural and cultural diversity at close quarters. I hope that your current visit will remain pleasant and memorable.
With these words, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I ask you to join me in proposing a toast
-to good health and happiness of His Excellency the President of the Republic of India,
-to continued happiness, peace and progress of the friendly people of India, and
-to everlasting friendship and cooperation between Nepal and India.
Transcript of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee's banquet speech
Your Excellency Rt. Hon’ble Bidya Devi Bhandari, President of Republic of Nepal
Hon’ble Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun,
Hon’ble Prime Minister Puspha Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’
Hon’ble Chief Justice Sushila Karki
Hon’ble Speaker Onsari Gharti
Hon'ble Ministers of the Government of Nepal,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is indeed a privilege for me to visit your beautiful country once again. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to you, Madam President, for the warmth of the welcome, the graciousness of your hospitality and the friendship of the people of Nepal. I am deeply touched by the overwhelming affection with which I have been received in Nepal.
India and Nepal share age-old historical and civilisational links. Our people have always maintained close ties of friendship and co-operation. The socio-economic, cultural and people-to-people ties between our two nations reinforce the warm relations and mutual understanding that exists between our two Governments. These special bonds are at the heart of the India-Nepal friendship. They are the real drivers of our partnership; they provide vitality and dynamism to our unique, time-tested and multi-faceted relations. I believe, Madam President, that the destinies of our two countries are inter-linked. We have a vital stake in each other's wellbeing and prosperity.
The people of Nepal are engaged in a historic undertaking - of consolidating the gains of democracy, achieving progress and ensuring that benefits reach out every citizen. I applaud the enterprise and achievements of the people of Nepal in their quest for peace, stability, progress and all round development. The commitment of the people of Nepal in pursuing this transformation is truly commendable. They seek to achieve their objectives within a federal and democratic framework, taking on board all sections of the society. They seek to implement a Constitution that responds to the needs of their diverse social fabric. We wish you all success in noble endeavour.
I salute the resilience of the people of Nepal in the face of acute adversity. The natural disaster that struck Nepal last year caused untold hardship – and, as it always seems to happen, the weakest sections were the worst affected. At this time, and rightly so, the people of India considered it their duty to come to the assistance of their brethren in Nepal as swiftly as possible. India remains committed to help as required – and will support the Government and people of Nepal in reconstruction of their homes and their lives.
India has an abiding interest in the socio-economic development of Nepal. As Nepal’s closest neighbour, India takes pride in the achievements of the people of Nepal, and in the success of her developmental partnership with Nepal. The canvass of our bilateral cooperation covers all dimensions of human endeavour. We have created robust institutional mechanisms to monitor our joint work.
Our regular high-level exchanges are a hallmark of our bilateral relationship. They demonstrate the high level of confidence that we have in each other and our commitment to leverage our resources and expertise for the progress of our peoples. Today, our youth have the opportunities to realise their aspirations. It is our sacred duty to equip and facilitate their pursuit of economic prosperity and development.
Madam President, Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, the rapid economic transformation that is taking place in India presents unprecedented opportunities for the people of Nepal. We invite them to be a part of India’s growth story. Together we can and must achieve the full potential of our ever-expanding mutually beneficial cooperation. We have together prioritised some areas of our common interest – including trade, mutual investments, defense and security, agriculture, hydro-power, infrastructure development and connectivity projects.
India remains ready to extend all possible support in accordance with the requirements of the people and Government of Nepal.
The common challenges that we face in the 21st century, will necessiate an environment of peace and security in our region and beyond. Terrorism, today, poses the most serious threat to our peace and security. The international community will need to work together. We will need to foster tolerance and understanding in all sections and eradicate the scourge of terrorism. Similarly, it is only a collective, globally co-ordinated effort that can effectively address the adverse impact of climate change.
Rapid technological advances have opened up vast opportunities and the world is becoming increasingly inter-dependent. India remains committed to promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation. India was honored to welcome Prime Minister Prachanda and other leaders from the BIMSTEC countries to the BRICS-BIMSTEC Leaders' Outreach Summit in Goa to discuss ways to enhance their regional cooperation.
Working together, our nations can do a lot. India attaches the highest priority to its relations with its neighbours – particularly Nepal with whom we have the closest fraternal ties.
India is committed to further strengthening and expanding these ties and we know that so is Nepal. As sovereign nations we have ensured that our partnership is based on utmost trust and respect for each other's interests and concerns. We share the confidence that through this approach we are bound to succeed.
With these words, Madam President, Excellency, I would like to most cordially reiterate my invitation to you to visit India. I look forward to the privilege and opportunity of welcoming you in Delhi.
May I now invite Your Excellency and Ladies and Gentlemen, to join me in raising a toast
- to the health and happiness of Her Excellency the President of Nepal;
- to the progress and prosperity of the people of Nepal; and,
- to the successful co-operation and enduring friendship between India and Nepal.