Mukherjee terms visit ‘mission of friendship’Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has described his three-day state visit to Nepal as a “mission of friendship” that reflects the priority that India attaches to further strengthening unique relationship with Nepal.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has described his three-day state visit to Nepal as a “mission of friendship” that reflects the priority that India attaches to further strengthening unique relationship with Nepal.
Mukherjee returned home on Friday evening after a three-day stay in Nepal during which besides holding several meetings in Kathmandu, he visited the ancient religious city of Janakpur and Pokhara, a tourist destination.
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari saw Mukherjee off at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Friday evening.
“India is determined to support Nepal in its pursuit of peace, stability and development,” said Mukherjee in a statement before wrapping up his visit. “Both sides agree that focus should now shift to implementation of ongoing bilateral development and connectivity projects as well as projects for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.” Mukherjee’s visit to Nepal, a first by an Indian president in 18 years, took place a year after Nepal promulgated its new constitution which had angered some sections of the society. The southern neighbour, which had given a terse response to the launching of a new charter in Nepal with only a “noted” statement, even went on to impose an undeclared border blockade that lasted more than four months, causing unease and sufferings across the country. As a result, Nepal-India relations had hit a low point.
The Indian president’s sojourn this time is largely seen as sign of warming ties between the two countries.
In his statement, Mukherjee has said he is convinced that the “visit has provided new dynamism to our common cooperative endeavours”. “I am confident that building on shared strength of geography, history and culture, India-Nepal relations are poised to ascend to new heights in the coming years for the mutual benefit of our two peoples,” he said.
Stating that the warmth and affection with which “I was received by the people and government of Nepal was truly overwhelming”, Mukherjee said, “Our destinies are inter-linked and there is recognition on both sides of the need to advance common prosperity.”
Recalling the honorary degree accorded to him by the Kathmandu University and civic felicitations organised in his honour in Kathmandu and Janakpur, the Indian president said, “It reflects the historic bonds of friendship as well as the unique and multi-faceted people-centric ties that exist between India and Nepal.”
“As two sovereign nations, we wish to take forward our relationship on the basis of trust, goodwill and mutual benefit. I conveyed the good wishes of the people and government of India to the friendly people of Nepal in their national efforts to achieve peace, stability and development within a federal democratic polity,” said the Indian head of state. “In all my meetings, I found tremendous goodwill and strong desire to advance our excellent bilateral ties for the benefit of our two peoples,” he added.