Press Briefing by The Rt. Hon’ble Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at New Delhi

Dear Friends from Media,

As you are aware we are now towards the end of my State Visit to India. My major engagements in New Delhi and outside are now successfully over. And after a visit to Patanjali Yogpeeth tomorrow, I will be returning to Kathmandu. I thought it worthwhile to sit with you and share briefly my take of this visit and perspectives on how Nepal-India relations will move ahead in the days to come.

Media has important role to convey message and help shape perspectives, thereby contribute to further consolidation of Nepal-India friendly bilateral relations. I have included media representatives in my delegation in recognition of their vital role. I thank the distinguished media persons, both in Nepal and outside, for extensive coverage of this visit and for helping to generate an overall positive fervour. Your contribution in generating positive momentum in Nepal-India relations is commendable.

I came to this visit with a defined purpose. I chose to visit India just one month after assuming office of the Prime Minister of Nepal and our decision was a concrete step in materialization of our policy statement that relations with neighbours is the top foreign policy priority.  As ‘neighbourhood first’ is the policy priority of the Government of India, we have seen a great opportunity to deepen our friendship and partnership in the context of this convergence of policy orientation.

This is the second time that I have become the Prime Minister of Nepal. In 2008 I was the first Prime Minister of the republic Nepal. I then had important responsibility to consolidate the republican system of governance, lead the process of writing the New Constitution by the elected Constituent Assembly and steer Nepal’s historic peace process to logical conclusion. As the elected leader of the country, I put my sincere efforts.

I have now become the Prime Minister of Nepal at yet another crucial moment of history. After a prolonged and painful transition period of over a decade, we have been able to promulgate the Constitution. Made for the first time in Nepal’s history by the elected representatives of the people, the Constitution has now provided a solid foundation for democratic, inclusive and justice-based polity, for which Nepali people tirelessly fought for decades. It is now incumbent upon the Government under my leadership to steer the process of implementation of the Constitution. And in the process, my Government is committed to take on board all segments of Nepali society. Nepal is a diverse society with diverse perspectives. There are still some demands. We will accommodate legitimate demands within the framework provided by the Constitution.

Constitution making marks the culmination of the historic peace process that started in 2006. Behind the success of the process was the determination, resilience and wisdom of the Nepali people, Nepal’s political leadership as well as support, solidarity and goodwill from our friends around the world. Goodwill and support from the people and Government of India remained valuable and encouraging. As we embark onto the phase of implementation of the Constitution, thereby further consolidation of peace, stability and inclusive democracy in Nepal, goodwill of our friends continues to remain important.

Nepal’s political course has taken a shape with a promulgation of the Constitution. The other facet of people’s dream — the dream of economic prosperity — is still far from being realized. This aspect will now receive a logical focus in our domestic policy making as well as in orientation of our external relations.

Yesterday Prime Minister Modiji and I had extensive dialogues on how our two countries can deepen partnership for mutual benefits in different areas. We have already shared with you the thrust of discussion and understanding through joint press briefing at Hydrabad House as well as our Joint Statement issued yesterday evening.

We have agreed to take concrete measures to ensure that the ongoing projects are completed in time bound manner. We will do concrete and action oriented review of the progress on regular basis so that the key ongoing projects like cross border railways, integrated check posts and Postal roads see tangible progress.

We have agreed that hydropower should be the topmost area of our partnership and for that an essential next step is the operationalization of the free market provision of the Nepal-India Power Trade Agreement in domestic laws and regulations. We hope this will be realized soon. We will ensure that the ongoing mega hydropower projects progress in timely manner. We have emphasized on early finalization of Pancheshwar DPR and our officials will hopefully conclude their homework soon for this. During my visit to Nathpa Jhakri hydropower project today, I saw how a single big hydropower project can have multiplier developmental impacts in national economy as well as lives of the people.

Government of India has offered us generous support for post earthquake reconstruction. We will expedite works for the utilization of the pledged fund.

We hold the view that our security interests are interlinked. We will continue to scale up cooperation among our security agencies to ensure our open border is not misused by wrong elements.

We will continue to take measures to improve facilitative measures to enhance trade and transit. Together we will seek how Nepal’s export to India can be improved in order to address the growing trade deficit. We have natural expectation of support from India’s public and private sector in Nepal’s industrialization and for this we want private sectors of both countries to be better linked up.

Tourism is yet another area where there is ample possibility of collaboration between the two countries. Both our countries are rich in traditional knowledge, folklore and genetic resources. I will visit Patanjali Youpeeth tomorrow to see how the ancient system of knowledge and practice can be translated into modern treasure of economy and way of life.

My meetings with the Home Minister Shri  Rajnathji, Finance Minister Shri Arunji and Power Minister Shri Piyushji remained fruitful in shaping up partnership in respective sectoral areas. Concrete homework will continue to be done in these areas by our respective officials.

Private sectors of the two countries are the indispensible players in materializing our vision of Nepal-India partnership for economic growth and development. During the business event yesterday evening, I invited the leaders of private sector in India to make Nepal their next destination for business. I shared our commitment to facilitate their investment in Nepal in every possible way we can.

I had the privilege of meeting President Pranabji yesterday and convey him that we eagerly look forward to welcoming him in Kathmandu soon.

I thank you for participating in this event.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

September 17, 2016