India values its partnership with Nepal: President

Kathmandu, Nov 4 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said that India values its partnership with Nepal, and stressed on the development of border infrastructure.

“India deeply values its partnership with Nepal across diverse sectors. As a close and friendly neighbour, India’s abiding interest in Nepal is peace, stability and prosperity,” Mukherjee said at a civic reception in Janakpur in Nepal.

Mukherjee is in Nepal on a three-day state visit from Wednesday — in the first presidential visit from India in 18 years to the Himalayan nation.

The President applauded the efforts of the people and government of Nepal for achieving inclusive economic development, saying “India takes pride in its close development partnership with Nepal and the achievements of its friendly people.”

He stressed on the development of border infrastructure.

“It is essential that we pay adequate attention to the development of border infrastructure and connectivity to facilitate movement of people.

“Today, in consonance with priorities of the people of Nepal, both Governments are giving particular attention to expediting implementation of connectivity and development projects such as Terai roads, cross-border rail links, Integrated Check posts, power transmission lines.

“These projects are vital not only for Nepal’s socio-economic and infrastructural transformation but also demonstrate our collaborative efforts to facilitate trade, investments and movement of people,” the President said.

He said that the government of India was assisting in the construction of four Integrated Check Posts (ICPs) along important India-Nepal entry point.

“The ICPs at Birgunj and Biratnagar will be of great advantage to the people of Jankapur and the surrounding region. I have been informed that ICP at Birgunj will soon be operational.

“These ICPs, with their modern, state of the art facilities, will be instrumental in promoting trade and tourism and facilitate the convenient movement of people across the border,” he said.

He further said the people and government of India are committed to further deepen and expand their close ties with Nepal on the basis of mutual trust and mutual benefit.

Mukherjee also drew attention on promotion of tourism in Janakpur.

He gave the example of the twin city agreement signed by Janakpur and Ayodhaya that reinforced their ancient ties.

The President said that the development of the Ramayana tourism circuit, with better facilities for millions of pilgrims, will not only generate employment opportunities but also strengthen the story of our common heritage.

On the occasion, he announced the construction of two dharmashalas in Janakpur.

“I am pleased to announce the construction of two dharmashalas along the Parikrama Path around Janakpur. These two dharamshalas will, I hope, be of benefit to the pilgrims from both Nepal and India,” the President said.

The President also thanked Bimalendra Nidhi, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of Nepal, for being present in Janakpur on the occasion.