Ties with India special, says Nepal PM (Second Lead)

September 15th, 2008 - 10:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” Monday assured India that Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi can’t be compared with any other country, including China. His assurance comes amid speculation that Nepal was tilting towards Beijing under the new Maoist dispensation.

Prachanda met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and discussed an entire gamut of bilateral issues, including intensification of economic and energy ties and the need to address the issue of floods and water management.

The 54-year-old Maoist leader assured Manmohan Singh about his government’s keenness to expand bilateral ties in all areas and underlined that ties between the two countries are special and unique which can’t be compared to any other country, reliable sources said.

Prachanda also told Manmohan Singh about the growing feeling in Nepal about the need for a revision of the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship that could give a more contemporary complexion to ties between the two countries.

Manmohan Singh expressed India’s readiness to help Nepal in its ongoing economic and democratic transformation. He also assured Prachanda, a formal guerrilla leader who was sworn in as Nepal’s prime minister only last month, that India was ready to do its bit to ensure that deadly floods that have wreaked massive havoc are averted.

India is likely to announce a hefty flood assistance package Tuesday. He also stressed on concrete steps to bolster water management and the need for big projects in this area.

In a special gesture that underscored the warm relations between the two countries, the Indian prime minister hosted a dinner in honour of his Nepali guest.

Earlier, while addressing a business conclave here, Prachanda said: “Relationship with India is cordial and vital.” “There is no question of comparison between India and China,” he said when asked what kind of relationship Nepal would like to have with the two neighbouring nations.

Prachanda’s visit to Beijing to attend the closing ceremony of the Olympics last month had sparked anxieties among some sections of the establishment in India that Kathmandu was inching closer to Beijing.

In a bid to allay these concerns in India, the powers-that-be in Kathmandu went on a damage-control exercise with Nepal’s Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav saying no power on earth can upset relations between New Delhi and Kathmandu.

Underlining the special place India enjoys in Nepal, Prachanda who began his first official visit to New Delhi Monday, said: “Nepal and India have been enjoying excellent relationship since time immemorial. Our age-old ties and geography have bound us together.”

“Thus, what we need is to utilise our exemplary relations and open up multiple avenues of co-operation in the economic front that would accrue benefits to both the nations. And this is the right time for it,” he said.

Saying that Nepal wished to grow and prosper along with India, Prachanda said business was an engine of growth, and invited Indian corporate houses to invest in Nepal in key sectors like hydropower and infrastructure.

Prachanda will meet Communist Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat and CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury Tuesday.

Yechury had played an important role in brokering a dialogue between the Maoists and democratic parties in Nepal nearly two years ago. Prachanda will also go to the IT hub Bangalore.

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