28 Jan : Top Nepalese leaders on Wednesday underlined the need for taking the Indo-Nepal ties to a new level, as they sought New Delhi’s cooperation in drafting of the Constitution and ‘managing’ the Maoist combatants.
Speaking at a meet on the theme ‘Nepal-India Cooperation’ in Kathmandu ruling Nepali Congress general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi said, “We have received India’s full support and cooperation to move ahead the peace process, democratisation of the country and for moving on the path of economic progress. We expect same cooperation and help to move forward from the current transitional period.”
The two major challenges Nepal currently faces are managing the Maoist combatants and drafting the constitution, he pointed out and added that Nepal needs India’s support to accomplish these tasks.
Standing Committee member of CPN-UML, Bharat Mohan Adhikari said, “as peaceful, stable and developed Nepal is also in the interest of India, it is natural for Nepal to expect for India’s help for attaining economic prosperity and development.”
Endorsing Maoist chief Prachanda’s view that Nepal and India have a relationship that of Bread and Daughter “Roti Beti Ka Sambandha”, Nidhi said, that the people of the two countries are tied together by common culture, economy, religion and geography.
Commenting on the Maoist demand for reviewing the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty, Nidhi said, the current coalition government cannot decide on it.
“The present coalition government being a caretaker one cannot decide about reviewing the 1950 treaty, which needs to be decided by a full fledged government that will come after the general election,” Nidhi said.
Indian Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood said that India’s constitution drafted in 1950 is still functioning well even after 60 years and we hope that the constitution Nepal would draft in a few months would also be functional for decades.
Sood pointed out that, Bihar which shares border with Nepal has attained 11 per cent growth rate last year.
Nepal being the immediate neighbour can also benefit from that, he said.
Regarding the 1950 treaty he said, India is ready to review the treaty if Nepal wishes to do so, but Nepal should decide what changes it wants in the treaty.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna during his recent visit to Nepal had told the Nepalese leaders that New Delhi is willing to review the treaty if the Nepalese side wanted.
Adhikari said that Nepal needs support from friendly countries like India as the country is passing through a crucial transitional period.
Instead of politicising the issue of border problem and going to the street, problems related to border should be resolved at political and diplomatic level, he said.
Regarding the proposed visit to Nepal by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, whose date is yet to be fixed, Adhikari said, Nepal is eagerly waiting for such a high level visit from India.
Since the visit of the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee during SAARC Summit in 2002 January, no Indian Prime Minister has visited Nepal, he pointed out.
There is a need to take the friendly relations between Nepal and India towards the new dimension of the 21st century, he pointed out.
President of Terai Madhes Democratic Party, Mahanta Thakur said that India’s constitution and democratic practises are exemplary for Nepal, which is moving in transitional stage.
To end all kinds of conflicts and resolve the current political stalemate, the government should honestly implement the agreement it had signed with the Madhesi parties in the past, he said pointing to the eight point agreement that includes declaring Madhes as an autonomous region, one of the major demands of the Madhesi people.
President of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Pashupati Shumsher Rana said, that Nepal should develop Megha hydro-power projects like Pancheshwor in order to develop the country and to make up the huge trade deficit Nepal is currently facing.
Though Nepal is rich in water resources as we have the potential of generating 83,000 MW power, we have not been able to produce more than 600 MW and our water is flowing into Ganges freely every day, he pointed out.