India to work closely with new Nepal government

New Delhi, Aug 19 (IANS) India will work closely with the new Nepal government headed by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Friday, and also extended him an invite to visit New Delhi.

She conveyed this during a meeting with Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Bimalendra Nidhi who is visiting India as Special Envoy of the Nepal Prime Minister, it is learnt.

This is the first high-level visit from Nepal to India after the formation of the new government in Kathmandu earlier this month.

“The External Affairs Minister appreciated the initiative of Prime Minister Prachanda to send Nidhi as his Special Envoy to India,” sources here said.

“She said that India stands ready to work closely with Prime Minister Prachanda’s government and to welcome him in India soon on a bilateral visit,” they said.

Sushma Swaraj emphasised that India attached the highest priority to its relations with Nepal, and offered full assistance and cooperation for Nepal’s economic development.

According to the sources, on his part, Nidhi shared the vision and priorities of the new government as implementation of the Constitution to promote political stability, taking the Constitution and peace process forward by addressing all issues through a process of consensus building between all major political parties, and focusing on post-earthquake reconstruction efforts and economic development.

Nidhi also appreciated India’s goodwill and support to the peace process and economic development in Nepal, and emphasised the need to strengthen bilateral partnership in all areas, including development cooperation.

There was also a discussion on possible high-level exchanges between India and Nepal in the coming months, including an invitation to President Pranab Mukherjee to visit Nepal as well as a visit by Prime Minister Prachanda to India.

Apart from Sushma Swaraj, Nidhi also held a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, according to the sources.

The Special Envoy also called on President Mukherjee and reiterated the invitation from Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari to visit the Himalayan nation.

Earlier on Friday, Nidhi attended a programme on natural disasters organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of India.

The Himalayan country is in the process of reconstruction in the wake of a huge earthquake in 2015.

He is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.

After coming to power, the new Maoist-led government in the Himalayan nation has said that it wanted to further strengthen bilateral relations with India.

While Nidhi, who is also Nepal’s Minister for Home Affairs, has been deputed to visit India as Special Envoy, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Krishna Bahadur Mahara of Prachanda’s Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist-Centre), visited Beijing in a similar role earlier this week.

–IANS

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