President's India visit: Consolidating bilateral ties

Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav, at the invitation of Indian President Pratibha Patil, will pay a maiden official visit to India from today. During his visit President Yadav will hold talks with his counterpart President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on issues of mutual interest.

The State visit is aimed at broadening contact, developing goodwill and forging new areas ofcooperation. He is also expected to meet Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and opposition leaders.

President Yadav will ask for Indian assistance to check growing deforestation in Chure-Bhavar range in Nepal. He is also, inter-alia, scheduled to ask Indian assistance for the construction of South Asian Conference Center in Kathmandu.

His visit had been delayed for some months as there was no functional Vice President to take over the former’s charge during his absence. But, now Vice President Parmananda Jha has assumed his office.

The recent visit by the Indian Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor assumes special significance in the light of enhanced defense co-operation and growing relations between Nepal and India. Gen. Kapoor received the title of Honorary General of Nepal Army from President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav on Jan. 2, giving continuity to the six-decade-old tradition practiced by the armies of the two countries.

In the recent past, Nepal and India have agreed to strengthen bilateral ties as Indian Foreign Minster Krishna ended his visit. Just to recapitulate, Nepal and India agreed that recent meetings of bilateral institutional mechanisms had reinvigorated the bilateral relationship in key areas.

A joint statement issued by the governments of

the two countries after the conclusion of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna’s three-day visit to Nepal from January 15 to 17, said that all decisions taken in the framework

of these mechanisms should be implemented in a timely manner.

They also decided that other institutional mechanisms should meet as soon as possible. The statement said that Krishna had paid an official visit to Nepal at the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal Sujata Koirala. During

his visit, Krishna called on President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The joint statement said that he conveyed to them the greetings of the Indian leadership and reiterated that India attaches the

highest priority to its relations with Nepal. He also said that a warm welcome awaits the President of Nepal during his forthcoming visit to India. The

Prime Minister of Nepal expressed his deep appreciation for India’s consistent support and assistance to Nepal and at the progress made on the decisions taken during his visit to India in August 2009. He reiterated his invitation to the Prime Minister of India to visit Nepal at an early date.

Both Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to promote bilateral cooperation in the hydro-power sector so as to create a win-win situation for the mutual benefit of both countries. The two ministers discussed security

concerns of their respective countries and agreedth at terrorism and extremism were a threat to both countries.

They agreed to cooperate closely to end this menace. The two Ministers also

discussed ways to enhance bilateral security cooperation to control cross

border crimes such as smuggling of fake Indian currency, human trafficking and arms smuggling.

Krishna conveyed the assurance that India was willing to provide all possible assistance to Nepalese security agencies as per the request of the Government of Nepal.

The two Ministers agreed to expedite the finalization of MoU for the construction of the Nepal Police Academy at Panauti with Government of India assistance.

Koirala reiterated Nepal’s commitment that it would not allow its territory to be used for any activity against India. Both sides agreed to take all necessary action to preserve law and order and maintain peace and tranquility along the India-Nepal border.

The two ministers directed their respective foreign secretaries to discuss and review the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship with a view to further strengthen bilateral relations. The Indian side reiterated its commitment to assist Nepal for strengthening peace, stability and democratic institutions and for economic development of Nepal.

The two ministers expressed satisfaction at

the growing commercial

relations between the

two countries and agreed on the need for early conclusion of the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.

Krishna pointed out that concerns remain about the business environment in Nepal affecting Indian investment and joint ventures. He requested that these issues be addressed urgently and effectively.