$750 million credit line marks upswing in India, Nepal ties
NEW DELHI: After a year of strained relations, India and Nepal decided to seal the new upturn in bilateral ties with three pacts including an agreement to upgrade the road network in Nepal’s Terai region and another extending a new line of credit of $750 million for post-earthquake reconstruction in the Himalayan country.
“We share our burden during difficult times, just as we celebrate each other’s achievements,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said addressing a joint press conference with new Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ after the agreements were inked.
“We have agreed to showcase our shared Buddhist heritage, and focus on the development of Ayurveda and other traditional systems of medicine,” Modi added.
Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, later addressing a press conference, said that discussions on two railway lines between the two countries have also been expedited. The railway lines would be a shot in the arm for a Buddhist circuit between the two countries.
India has been hoping that the new Nepal Constitution would consider the aspirations of the Madhesis as well. Talking about his meeting with the former chief of the Maoist forces which waged armed rebellion against Nepal government, Modi said, “You have been a catalytic force of peace in Nepal. I am confident that under your wise leadership, Nepal will successfully implement the Constitution through inclusive dialogue accommodating the aspirations of all sections of your diverse society.”
On Thursday, the Nepalese government, while reiterating that the Constitution-making process was an “internal issue”, said that India had never been “prescriptive”.
Addressing the Nepalese diaspora at an event, Prachanda, who also met President Pranab Mukherjee and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, said the top focus of the new dispensation led by him was to create the “right atmosphere” before implementing the Constitution and paving the way for necessary amendments.
“Till the time we don’t take the Tharus, Madhesis and Janjatis into confidence and address their legitimate demands, the atmosphere cannot be created for implementation of the new Constitution,” said the Nepal PM, who arrived here on Thursday on a four-day visit.