New Delhi: Nepal’s new government will change industrial policies, remove barriers to overseas investment and create trade zones for the Himalayan nation’s economic development, Prime Minister Prachanda said on his first official trip to India.
Maiden visit: Nepalese Prime Minister Prachanda in New Delhi. Vijay Kumar Joshi / PTI
“Investment-friendly policies will be reformed consistent with changing times and requirements,” Prachanda said here on Monday. “As a leading force of political change in the country, we would like to be a leading force in economic development now.”
Nepal, among the world’s 50 least developed nations according to the United Nations, wants to boost the economy that has remained sluggish because of a decade-long insurgency.
Prachanda is on a four-day trip to India, his first official overseas visit since taking office last month. Relations with India are strained over the breach of an upstream embankment along the Kosi river that flooded large stretches of Bihar.
The Prime Minister, whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, heads the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which fought to overthrow the monarchy. It signed a peace accord in 2006, joined the political mainstream and won the most seats in the April parliamentary elections. “The desire of the people is to see peace and stability reinforced by rapid and inclusive economic development,” Prachanda said.
Prachanda held talks with Indian leaders on enhancing trade, economic and bilateral ties. He said his government will work towards generating 10,000MW of hydropower in a decade and will try to achieve double-digit economic growth. The new government will endeavour to modernize farming and create better tourism infrastructure, Prachanda said.
India is Nepal’s biggest trading partner, exporting $1.6 billion (Rs7,344 crore) of goods and importing about $600 million worth in the year to July 2007, according to the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.