India offers ‘full support’ to Nepal’s peace process


New Delhi : India Saturday offered its “full support” to the peace process in Nepal, with both countries also saying they would hold discussions on reworking their Treaty of Peace and Friendship that was signed nearly six decades ago.

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“The Prime Minister of India expressed full support for the ongoing peace process and efforts to bring about economic transformation in Nepal,” said a joint statement issued on the conclusion of Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s five-day visit to India.

The joint statement also noted that the Nepalese prime minister had asserted that his government’s main priorities were the “positive and meaningful” conclusion of the peace process, completing the new constitution and economic development.

The joint statement said that both prime ministers had directed their foreign secretaries to hold discussions on revising the Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

On his first foreign visit after assuming office three months ago, Nepal arrived in India Aug 18 and during his stay, held discussions with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh and other leaders.

Security was another important topic for discussion, with Nepal assuring India that it would not allow its territory to be used for any activity against this country. The Consultative Group on Security issues would be meeting in two months to discuss ways to resolve border-related issues and assist the local population.

India and Nepal have concluded discussions on a trade treaty, with New Delhi offering assistance in road, rail and hydro-electric projects.

Both sides have also agreed to negotiate on two economic treaties – bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement and a double taxation avoidance pact.

India has given Rs.8.05 billion for building 20 roads in Nepal’s Terai region. Besides, another Rs.6.8 billion has been pledged for constructing two cross-border rail links. India would also be spending Rs.2 billion on constructing two integrated checkposts at Birgunj and Biratnagar.

Nepal has sought India’s help in the development of its hydroelectric potential to meet its target of generating 25,000 MW of power in the next 20 years. “The two sides agreed to facilitate increased Indian public and private sector involvement to harness Nepal’s hydropower potential,” said the joint statement.