Pranab heads to Nepal Nov 24

November 17th, 2008 - 7:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) With the democratic process still evolving in Nepal, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee heads to Kathmandu Nov 24 on a three-day visit that will seek to firm up bilateral ties under a new Maoist dispensation in that country. This will be the first high-level visit from the Indian side after Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda became the first Maoist prime minister of Nepal over three months ago.

“The visit will provide an opportunity to discuss the entire gamut of our extensive bilateral relationship with Nepal,” the external affairs ministry said here Monday while announcing the forthcoming visit of Mukherjee.

Mukherjee will hold talks with his Nepali counterpart Upendra Yadav on bilateral issues, including the proposed revision of the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship.

The joint efforts to combat floods, increased cooperation in hydropower sector and intensification of economic ties will also figure prominently in their talks, official sources said.

Amid apprehension among some sections in India about the alleged pro-China tilt of the Maoist dispensation, Prachanda had assured the Indian leadership when he arrived here on his first official visit in September that Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi could not be compared with the other country.

The Maoist leader again underlined the special nature of India-Nepal ties when he came here last week to attend a regional summit and sought New Delhi’s understanding in strengthening democracy and in reconstruction efforts in his country.

The visit is part of the ongoing efforts by New Delhi to build bridges with the new leadership in Kathmandu before the two countries get down to the task of revising the 1950 treaty to give a more contemporary complexion to their ties.

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