Nepal determined to fulfil constitutional mandates through elections: Prez Bhandari

NEW DELHI: President Bidya Devi Bhandari said Nepal has made significant strides to institutionalise democracy and inclusive governance in the country following the promulgation of the new constitution.

Delivering a speech at the State banquet hosted by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in her honour on Tuesday, she said, "The constitution has empowered people at grassroots level through greater devolution of political and fiscal powers", the President said, adding, "We want to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and indiscrimination against women and bring all sections of people in the national mainstream".

Noting that women, minorities and sections of underprivileged class, community and region have started occupying major decision making, President Bhandari further said, "We are determined to fulfill the mandate of the Constitution by holding elections of all levels in the stipulated time period and orient the country towards rapid economic prosperity".

The President also said that, as a land of Gautam Buddha, Nepal follows the philosophy of peace, non-violence, compassion and fraternity. "As we believe in friendship towards all, we are committed to safeguard peace, stability and progress at home and promote peace abroad".

In her speech, President Bhandari expressed her happiness that the people of the SAARC region have become prosperous through accelerated economic development.

"However, it is still a challenge for all of us to promote rapid economic development in the South Asia. On our part, our major challenge is to bring about rapid and tangible socio-economic transformation to fulfill rising expectations of our people and sustain political gains achieved after long struggle".

She went on saying that efforts to create a conducive environment for the implementation of the SDGs remain paramount. "We are striving fully to mobilise domestic resource and garner international support and cooperation to accelerate socio-economic development".

According to President Bhandari, regular exchange of high-level visits has become the hallmark of the two countries. The visits of the Indian President and the Prime Minister to Nepal have added new dimension to the age-old relations between the countries.

"These multi-faceted and multi-dimensional relations have solid foundations of friendship and cooperation. Characterised by principles of sovereign equality, mutual respect, shared benefit and clear understanding of each other's aspirations, they represent a confluence of strong bonds of historical, economic, cultural and people-to-people ties. As we share so many similarities, we should strive to reinforce mutual goodwill, trust and confidence to give enduring basis to our relations. I'm confident that these ties would be further consolidated for shared progress and prosperity," she mentioned.

President Bhandari argued that as a least developed country, Nepal needs international support in its endeavours for rapid social and economic transformation. Nepal thanks Indian for its full support in our mission. The scope of Indian assistance is very wide ranging from infrastructure building to core areas of socio-economic development. She expressed her belief that the areas of future cooperation between our two countries would be further broadened for the mutual benefit.

The President thanked India again for its prompt and generous assistance to Nepal in the devastative earthquake and the post-quake reconstruction.

Indian Prez Mukherjee urges Nepal to take benefit from India's economic progress

Earlier, while welcoming President Bhandari at the State banquet, Indian President Mukherjee reminded his State Visit to Nepal some months earlier and said the relations between Nepal and India was exemplary and incomparable.

"All of us should utilise all opportunities to strengthen the relations. New ways of cooperation can be sought to work for the common interests," he added.

Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari (left) pays courtesy call on Nepal's President Bidya Devi Bhandari in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Photo: RSS
Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari (left) pays courtesy call on Nepal's President Bidya Devi Bhandari in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017. Photo: RSS

According to him, India has always taken keen interest in Nepal's socioeconomic developments. India is committed to providing every possible assistance to Nepal based on the priorities of its government and people.

He expressed confidence that Nepal would be able to build all side consensuses with flexible dialogue, so that all classes would be taken together for the federal and democratic set up.

Moreover, he said the people from both India and Nepal condemn all forms and manifestations of terrorism and the development and prosperity is their utmost importance.

The Indian President urged Nepal to take benefits from India's economic progress.

"This visit of Nepali President Bhandari in India has proved that Nepal and India has special relations," he underscored.

The banquet was attended by Vice-President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Foreign Minister of Nepal Prakash Sharan Mahat.

Also attending the State banquet were Nepal's Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay, Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, Chief of Protocol Deepak Adhikari, and President Bhandari's advisors.