Kathmandu, June 24 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived here on Wednesday evening to participate in Thursday’s international donors’ conference on Nepal’s post-earthquake reconstruction.
“As I arrive in Kathmandu on my third visit during the last one year, I, on behalf of the government and people of India, convey our deepest condolences to the government and people of Nepal on the death and destruction caused by the devastating earthquake on April 25,” she said.
Under the leadership of Prime Minster Narendra Modi, India took the lead in responding swiftly to provide relief and rescue support after the devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake jolted Nepal, the external affairs minister said.
India was the first country to respond after the terrible earthquake left more than 8,000 people dead and caused widespread destruction. New Delhi sent search and rescue teams, helicopters and military personnel.
She added that there was an outpouring of instantaneous empathy and support from all sections of Indian society.
Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala will inaugurate Thursday’s conference, where he will seek donors’ help to rebuild Nepal at an estimated cost of $7 billion.
“I am glad to see that in spite of the tragedy, the people of Nepal have displayed a steely determination to rebuild their country. India will continue to stand together with the people and government of Nepal in the quickest recovery and reconstruction,” Sushma Swaraj added.
The Nepal government is expected to get major assistance from India and China. New Delhi has already extended over Rs.4.5 billion (Nepali Rs.6.5 billion) assistance to Kathmandu following the quake.
Over 300 delegates from 60 countries, development partners and donors have arrived in Kathmandu to participate in the conference.
“I look forward to participation in the international conference on Nepal’s reconstruction on June 25. I also look forward to fruitful exchange of views with the leadership of Nepal,” the Indian external affairs minister said.