Theweekendleader

Jaishankar in Nepal, supports its stability, prosperity

Anil Giri   |  Kathmandu

02-April-2015

 Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Thursday reaffirmed that India always stood for peace, stability and development in Nepal and was ready to support the Himalayan nation's effort to be prosperous, stable and peaceful.

He said this in separate talks with Nepal Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey and Nepal's Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi.

Immediately after landing in Kathmandu on Thursday, Jaishankar held bilateral talks with Bairagi. Both sides reviewed the agreement signed between Nepal and India in August 2014 during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and during the visit of India's Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

Both sides also discussed the progress made so far in implementation of the projects of bilateral interest and on issue of regional and global concerns, including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc).

"We assured the Indian side that we will back India's bid (for a permanent seat) in the UN Security Council," said Nepal's foreign secretary after the meeting.

"We welcomed India's 'neighbourhood first' policy," he told reporters after the meeting, adding that "I found the Indian foreign secretary very committed towards making progress on the bilateral front."

Both sides have agreed to prioritise the projects and issues and implement them in a time-bound manner, said Bairagi.

During the talks, matters like development of Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project, settling the boundary row by jointly conducting field surveys on both sides, construction of a petroleum pipeline between Nepal and India also figured.

The utilization of Indian soft loan of $1 billion to Nepal was also discussed.

Jaishankar, who arrived in Kathmandu on a two-day official visit, is scheduled to meet senior Nepali political leaders and will pay a courtesy call on President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

"We have given highest priority to our neighbours in our foreign policy," said Jaishankar in his meeting with Pandey, who in the course of talks congratulated him on becoming the Indian foreign secretary.

Later in the day, Jaishankar held talks with the chairman of Constituent Assembly of Nepal, Subash Chandra Nembang, and took stock of the constitution drafting process. Nepal parties have missed the January 22 deadline, failing to reach an understanding on the issue of federalism.

"As part of her 'Neighbourhood First' policy, India is committed to strengthen her multifaceted and mutually beneficial relationship with Nepal," said Jaishankar while making a statement on his arrival in Kathmandu.

"we support the aspirations of the people of Nepal for peace, stability and prosperity".

On Friday, Jaishankar will meet President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Chairman of the UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and other political leaders. - IANS