Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Nepal PM Prachanda says his upcoming visit to India will script ‘new history’


Kathmandu, May 20: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Saturday said that Nepal has made “good preparations” for his upcoming visit to India this time and it will script “new history” in bilateral ties.
Prachanda’s visit to India has been postponed thrice due to several reasons.
The visit to India would be his first foreign trip after the 68-year-old leader of the CPN-Maoist Centre assumed charge as Prime Minister for the third time in December last year.
“We have made good preparations for the visit to India this time. India has also shown concern and serious preparations have been made for the visit from the Indian side also, that is what I feel,” he said.
“This time I am paying the visit to India with the belief that a new history will be created,” Prachanda said during an interaction with Kantipur Daily, a leading newspaper in Nepal.
“This time, I believe, Nepal will achieve something new from the visit. Nepal-India relations will be taken to a new height, that’s what I believe,” remarked Prachanda.
“For both Nepal and India, the visit will provide an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations and find out new areas of economic cooperation.” The Prime Minister is likely to embark on May 31 for his four-day official visit to India, the Kantipur quoted Foreign Ministry sources as saying.
However, there is no official announcement for the date and the itinerary of the proposed visit yet.
Elaborating on why he chose to visit India first after assuming the position of Prime Minister for the third time, he said: “Although there is no legal or political compulsion to visit India first, there is a tradition to do so, as we have an open border and our relations have become unique due to economic, political, social and cultural proximity and people to people links.” However, Prachanda “broke the tradition by visiting China first” during his first tenure as the Prime Minister in 2008.
“This time I felt that it would be appropriate to visit India first not only to maintain the tradition, but because of the necessity and also it would be appropriate to do so,” he said.
“There were preparations (being made) for the visit some time ago but a request was made (from the Indian side) to postpone the visit for some time due to the elections there. Then I told them it would not be possible to embark on the visit before the finance minister presents the budget on May 29.” Responding to a question on media reports regarding the BJP providing funds to some of the Nepalese leaders to promote the Hindu religion, Prachanda responded that this was a very sensitive issue.
“The government has taken this issue seriously and as we are on the eve of the visit to India, I think there is a need to build some kind of common understanding with New Delhi in this regard,” Prachanda said. (PTI)