New Delhi: India and Nepal will further deepen cooperation in key areas like security, trade, investments and energy, the ministry of external affairs said on Thursday.
Talks on a range of issues were held between the two neighbouring countries during the ongoing visit of Nepalese president Bidya Devi Bhandari. Bhandari, who is on a visit to India from 17-21 April, held talks with her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee, vice-president Hamid Ansari, minister for home affairs Rajnath Singh, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and finance and defence minister Arun Jaitley.
A statement by the MEA said the Indian leadership reiterated its support to ongoing efforts of the Nepal government in moving constitution implementation process forward through dialogue and taking all sections of its society on board.
Both the sides, the MEA said, noted that Indo-Nepal relations derive their strength and salience from shared history, common cultural ethos, and long years of close and intense people-to-people contacts facilitated by open borders.
“The Indian leadership reiterated the importance of its neighbourhood first policy, and the high priority India attaches to strengthening relations with Nepal in every sphere,” the MEA said.
Bhandari also conveyed Nepal’s commitment to take forward the relationship between the two countries on the basis of goodwill, understanding and mutual benefit.
“She thanked India for its continued support for Nepal’s socio-economic development, in particular, India’s support for post-earthquake reconstruction process,” the statement added.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the “intensive bilateral exchanges” in recent months at all levels between the two countries to deepen and strengthen ongoing cooperation in areas like trade, economic, investments, water resources, energy cooperation, security, post-earthquake reconstruction efforts, culture, education and people-to-people ties.
They also assessed the implementation of ongoing connectivity and development projects, and expressed satisfaction at the recent initiatives taken towards expediting implementation of various projects. These projects include the cross-border connectivity works such as the development of Terai roads, cross-border rail links, integrated check posts, and cross-border petroleum products pipeline.
Nepalese minister for foreign affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat, minister of foreign affairs, Sita Devi Yadav, minister for peace and reconstruction, Members of Nepalese Parliament, and other senior government officials also accompanied Bhandari during his visit.
In Kathmandu, Mahat said Bhandari’s visit has been “fruitful” in enhancing the bilateral relations and goodwill between the two neighbours.
The two countries reviewed bilateral energy cooperation, including development of hydropower projects in Nepal, power trade and development of high-capacity cross-border transmission lines.
“The State visit of the President of Nepal provided the opportunity to the two sides to review all aspects of bilateral relations and to reiterate their commitments to take India-Nepal partnership to a new level across diverse sectors for mutual benefit,” the MEA added.
During her stay in India, she will travel to Gujarat and Odisha.