KATHMANDU, Sept 15: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said that his state visit to India will focus on developing mutual trust between the two countries and effectively implementing the project agreements reached in the past, without, however, compromising the national interest.
Briefing Parliament on Wednesday on the agenda of his India visit, Prime Minister Dahal said the state visit will be aimed at building mutual trust between Nepal and India and at successfully implementing agreements reached with the southern neighbor in the past regarding infrastructure developments and other development projects.
Prime Minister Dahal is leaving on a four-day state visit to India on Thursday at the head of a 116-member delegation. He will be holding meetings with President of India Pranab Mukherjee and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Prime Minister Dahal made it clear that there will not be any new agreements with India during the visit and it will focus on immediate and effective implementation of past agreements and understandings reached with the Indian side on various development projects.
“During my visit to India this time, our focus will not be on raising various issues but on building mutual trust and implementing past agreements,” he said.
He said his first priority will be to request the Indian side to complete the first phase of construction of the Postal Highway as per the agreement reached between the two countries, and he will also discuss the possibility of additional financial support for second phase construction work on the highway.
“I will take initiatives for effective implementation of the bilateral Power Trade Agreement (PTA) and also request the Indian side to initiate study for the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project as well as endorse it so that the project starts seeing implementation,” he said. Nepal and India signed the PTA two years.
Dahal said that a letter of exchanges will be inked regarding amendment of the existing railway service-related agreement, for the operation of a railway from Visakhapatnam to Nepali checkpoints, as part of the implemention of past agreements. India had agreed to allow the use of Vishakhapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh as an alternative transit route to Bangladesh for easing third country trade. The agreement was reached dcuring then prime minister KP Oli's visit to India.
He said that he will also discuss with the Indian prime minister the possibility of additional support for earthquake reconstruction. “During my meetings, we will also exchange views about investing the soft loan pledged by India in infrastructure development,” he added.
The prime minister also said that he will discuss with the Indian side how to reduce Nepal's trade deficit with India. “Revamping Gauriphanta checkpoint and initiating the necessary process for bringing the Chandani-Dodhara checkopoint into operation will likewise be discussed,” he added.
After landing in New Delhi, the prime minister, who will be accompained by Minister for Foreign Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahant and Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ramesh Lekhak, is scheduled to attend a reception to be hosted by the the Embassy of Nepal in the evening. On Friday, he will attend a ceremonial reception and inspect a Guard of Honor at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. He will then pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. The same day, he is scheduled to call on President of India Pranab Mukherjee, followed by an official meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
Some senior cabinet members of the government of India are scheduled to call on Prime Minister Dahal. Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other Indian leaders are to call on Prime Minister Dahal.
During the visit, Dahal is also scheduled to inspect the Nathpa Jhakri Hydropower Project in Himachal Pradesh and visit Patanjali Yogpeeth and its manufacturing units at Haridwar.
Similarly, Prime Minister Dahal will interact with intellectual circles and members of the business community in New Delhi as well as with the Nepali community in India. Dahal will return home on September 18.