Mukherjee invites Nepal to be ‘part of India’s growth story’Visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India welcomes the ongoing efforts of the government of Nepal to take on board all sections of its society for effective implementation of its constitution.
Visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India welcomes the ongoing efforts of the government of Nepal to take on board all sections of its society for effective implementation of its constitution.
Delivering a concluding remarks at the end of the two-day Nepal-India Bilateral Dialogue on Nepal and India: Exploring New Vistas, jointly organised by three think tanks of India and Nepal, the Indian president also wished the people of Nepal every success in their endeavour.
“India applauds the enterprise and achievements of the people of Nepal,” said Mukherjee. “We stand ready to share with Nepal our experience of building strong democratic institutions.”
Describing Nepal as being at the “threshold of a new era”, Mukherjee recognised Nepal’s effort to “consolidate the gains of multi-party democracy” saying it is presently engaged in charting the course for socio-economic development in all its regions”.
Mukherjee, who served the government of India over the years in various capacities before becoming the 13th Indian president, hailed Nepal for making progress in the right direction. While expressing satisfaction at Nepal’s achievement, he emphasised on doing more to exploit Nepal’s true potential.
“India accords high value to its bilateral relationship with Nepal—in the framework of its neighbourhood first foreign policy,” said Mukherjee.
Dwelling on the highs and lows in bilateral ties, he said, “In a partnership so rich and diverse in its scope and content, there are bound to be, occasionally, some differences in perceptions. This is absolutely normal.”
Some saw this as an indirect reference to over four-month long border blockade following the promulgation of the new constitution in Nepal. He further went on to say that with “enlightened leadership in both the countries, regular consultations, open dialogue, mutual trust and goodwill, we have managed to overcome such eventualities”.
“We cannot remain hostage to the political baggage of history and prejudice, nor can we continue to follow policies that have failed to lift our people out of poverty. As sovereign nations, we need to move together to achieve our peoples’ aspirations for a better life. We welcome Nepal to be part of India’s growth story,” he said. While reiterating India’s official position on Nepal, the Indian head of the state said, “I would stress that India’s interest is in seeing a united, stable and peaceful Nepal, a Nepal whose people enjoy the fruits of development and peace. India would like to see a prosperous Nepal, optimally harnessing its abundant natural resources.”
On the current state of India-Nepal relations, the visiting Indian head of state said, “It is seen that the enduring partnership continues to be driven and characterised by socio-economic developmental imperatives of our two peoples.”
Describing trade and economic cooperation as the foundation of Nepal- India partnership, Mukherjee urged private sectors on both sides to enhance their engagements.
He highlighted that enhancing connectivity is another shared goal for both countries and added that development of border infrastructure and connectivity projects with Nepal such as Hulaki Road, cross border rail links, integrated check posts, cross border transmission lines is “intended to broaden the reach of economic prosperity in the region”.
Mukherjee said that the first ever international oil pipeline in South Asia, which is under construction between Nepal and India, was a matter of pride.
He stressed on tremendous potential of expanding cooperation in energy and hydropower sectors, power trade agreement, cooperation on water resources, flood management, security and defence, academic and student exchanges.
“At a sub-regional level, both countries have worked out mutually beneficial arrangements for smooth movement of goods from Bangladesh through India to Nepal and Bhutan,” he said.
Without naming Pakistan, Mukherjee also spoke of cross-border terrorism and cautioned Nepal not to allow misuse of open border by unwanted elements.