Modi advises statute amendment for solution

Kathmandu, August 20

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today advised Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi to bring all agitating forces on board by addressing their concerns through constitutional amendment.

He said this when DPM Nidhi went to meet him at his 7 Race Course Road residence today.

Modi reiterated that the remaining issues should be resolved to ensure effective implementation of the constitution and to ensure peace, stability and institutionalisation of democracy in Nepal, an official who accompanied Nidhi told The Himalayan Times.

As a special envoy of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nidhi met Modi for 35 minutes along with members of the Nepali delegation and held one-on-one talks with the Indian PM for 15 minutes.

Modi sought to know about Nepal’s political developments following the promulgation of the constitution on September 20,  2015.

India had merely ‘noted’ the constitution abd refrained from welcoming it, stating that the document fell short of addressing the concerns raised by a section of Nepali society.

Nidhi assured the Indian PM that implementation of the constitution by accommodating the aspirations of all people was the Nepal Government’s top priority, said a press release issued by the Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi.

Modi stated that relations between India and Nepal were not merely between two governments, but between the people of both countries. He further reiterated India’s commitment to strengthening these traditional bonds of friendship and kinship with the people of Nepal, according to a statement issued by the Indian Prime Minister’s Office.

“The Indian prime minister assured that the Government of India would fully support the priorities of the new Government of Nepal and expressed hope that the new government would be able to steer the country towards greater peace, stability and institutionalisation of democracy,” read the release.

Nidhi handed over PM Dahal’s invitation to Modi to visit Nepal, and discussed the agenda of the visit, which was agreed in principle to be held from September 15 to 18, according to Dhungana.

Both sides are also trying to arrange a state-visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal after Dahal’s India visit. According to Nepali officials, the visit of Nepal’s President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India is likely to happen by the end of this year.

Nidhi, in his meeting with the Indian PM, sought India’s supportive role in implementing the constitution and stated that Nepal attached high importance to its relations with India.

As an emissary, he also conveyed Dahal’s message that the new government’s focus was to pursue socio-economic development, and sought continuation and further scaling up of India’s cooperation in Nepal’s development, according to the release issued by the Nepali Embassy.

Nidhi underscored the need to expedite implementation of the ongoing joint venture projects particularly Hulaki road, cross border railways and the Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project. He also stressed the need to identify new areas of cooperation, read the embassy’s release.

The Nepali side further sought India’s contribution to make available an additional Rs 100,000 — on top of the already pledged Rs 200,000 relief package — for quake victims to build their homes — to which PM Modi responded positively, a source in New Delhi told this daily.

“The prime minister said that India was fully committed to support the government and the people of Nepal in post-earthquake reconstruction efforts,” read a statement from the Indian Prime Minister’s Office.

Nidhi, who had reached the Indian capital on Thursday, is likely to meet leaders of some major parties in India before returning home on Monday.