Nepal, India have mutual security interests: Mukherjee

Kathmandu, November 3

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee today said Nepal and India should consult each other to safeguard mutual security interests.

“As our security interests are inter-linked, we must continue to consult and coordinate closely to safeguard our shared security interests,” he said while addressing a symposium on the theme of India-Nepal relations here today.

He also appreciated the contribution of Nepali Gurkhas to India’s defence. Since the tripartite agreement among Nepal, India and the United Kingdom in 1947, thousands of Nepali Gurkhas have been serving in the Indian army, along with the British Army.

As many as 40,000 Nepalis are serving in the Indian Army and have fought in critical war-zones.

The seminar was organised by India Foundation, Neeti Anusandhan Pratishthan Nepal and Nepal Centre for Contemporary Studies.

Mukherjee also welcomed the government’s efforts to take on board all sections of Nepali society for effective implementation of the constitution at a time when the government is gearing up to table a constitutional amendment bill in the parliament to address the concerns of the Madhesis and Janajatis.

He said India accorded high value to its relationship with Nepal in the framework of its ‘neighbourhood first’ foreign policy.

The Indian president called Nepali firms to join India’s supply chains and benefit from India’s growth.

“India welcomes Nepal to be a part of its growth story and take advantage of the opportunities inherent in the rapid transformation of our economy,” he added.

Regarding bilateral projects, he urged the governments of Nepal and India to work expeditiously in areas of flood management and irrigation and proceed faster regarding large projects, such as Pancheshwar, Sapta Koshi and Sun Koshi.

Earlier today, he attended a civic reception organised by the Kathmandu metropolis in his honour. Addressing the civic reception, he said, “Kathmandu is not only the political capital of Nepal, but also a spiritual centre for the people of the region.”

He was decorated with an honorary Doctor of Letters (D Litt) by Kathmandu University at a special convocation ceremony held in the university in the Capital. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is the ex-officio chancellor of the university, conferred the honour and said Mukherjee was one of the most respected leaders of Asia.

In the morning, he visited Pashupatinath temple and offered prayers. Mukherjee wrote in the visitors’ book that he wished for successful completion of inns being built on the temple premises with India’s financial support.

He also assured Nepal of India’s support to renovate and upgrade the ghats adjoining the temple area.

He said Pashupatinath temple was “equally revered by devotees in India and Nepal”.

To visit Pokhara today

POKHARA: Visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee is slated to arrive in Pokhara on Friday. He will take a chartered flight from Janakpur to the Lake City at 1:00pm.

From airport, the Indian president he will go to Grande Hotel to rest. He is slated to address ex-Gurkha soldiers at the pension camp in Pokhara’s Ram Bazaar. A committee has been formed under the coordination of regional administrator Khagaraj Baral to make necessary preparations for he high profile visit.

Damaged road stretches have been repaired and welcome gates have been erected at several places. Around 1,500 security personnel will be deployed for the visiting guest in the city.

While Indian commandos will man the innermost security cordon, Nepali Army, Armed Police Force and Nepal Police personnel will be part of the outer security cordon.

Traffic will be disrupted for about four hours due to Mukherjee’s visit.

Vehicles will be barred on roads near Birautachowk, Mustangchowk, Nagdhunga, Prithvichowk, Chinapul and Buddhachowk. Commuters have been urged to use alternative routes.