New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Extending a warm welcome to visiting Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and his wife at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said India was ready to expand bilateral ties as per Nepal’s priorities because of New Delhi’s “abiding interest” in the stability and economic prosperity of the Himalayan nation.
Oli, on his first foreign visit after returning to power in February for a second term, was accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan before he met President Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the second day of his India trip.
“India’s abiding interest is in the stability and economic prosperity of Nepal. India stands ready to expand cooperation with Nepal as per Nepal’s priorities,” the President tweeted after receiving Oli.
Hailing the age-old ties between the two countries, Kovind said: “No other countries in the world have the bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between India and Nepal. Regular exchanges of visits at the highest political level demonstrate the priority that we attach to our special partnership.”
Oli returned the compliment, saying his government accorded a priority to friends like India that has helped his nation in fighting poverty in the landlocked country.
“Friendship is very important. We have developed our friendship according to time with a purpose to eradicate poverty, improve life standards. Our friendship is historical, renewed, developed and is very fruitful. Looking ahead and not looking back”
Welcoming Oli, the President said that India holds him in the highest regard for his leadership and contribution to advancing the cause of India-Nepal partnership.
“We are confident that under his wise leadership, Nepal will chart a new course of rapid socio-economic transformation for its people.
“We are bound together not only by a shared geography but by history, culture, civilisation and close people to people and familial ties. Regular exchanges of visits at the highest political level between the two countries demonstrate the priority that we attach to our special partnership,” the President said in a statement.
“We believe that enhanced connectivity between our countries will boost our economic growth and benefit our citizens. We wish to take forward our relationship on the basis of goodwill, mutual trust and mutual benefit.”
Oli and his wife Radika Shakya who are on a three-day visit to India paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, before driving to the President’s house.
Viewed as an important visit amidst a strain in ties, Oli has flow a 54-member high-level delegation to India, seeking more investment from India’s public as well as private sector.
Oli made a strong pitch for Indian businessmen to invest in his country by benefiting from its economic liberalisation and being a safe destination for foreign investment.
On the first day of his visit on Friday, he also met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed various dimensions of Nepal-India relations.