Wednesday, 2 November 2016

President Mukherjee arrives in Nepal on three-day visit

KATHMANDU: President Pranab Mukherjee today arrived here on a three-day state visit to Nepal, the first by an Indian Head of State in 18 years, to hold talks with the top leadership on ways to boost bilateral ties especially after the formation of a new government. Mukherjee, who arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport, was received by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. He will hold talks with the political
leadership here besides visiting historical temples of Pashupatinath tomorrow and Ram Janaki in Janakpur on November 4. A formal meeting between the two Heads of State has been lined up at the official residence of Bhandari — Shital Niwas.

Bhandari will host a state banquet in Mukherjee's honour. Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' will also host a dinner in his honour.

"India is giving particular focus on our ongoing development, connectivity and economic projects as well as number of projects under the lines of credit... India has committed $1 billion assistance to Nepal," Joint Secretary (North) Sudhakar Dalela had said ahead of the visit.

Nepal Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun and the Prime Minister will also call on Mukherjee — whose visit comes in the backdrop of Nepal, as SAARC chair, issued a strong statement condemning terror in all forms in the aftermath of the Uri terror attack.

The President is accompanied by Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre, Members of Parliament Bhubaneswar Kalita, L Ganesan, Jagdambika Pal and R K Singh. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar is also accompanying the delegation.

The leaders "will discuss the full range of issues covering bilateral, regional and international issues and I am sure regional cooperation issue will figure in the talks," Dalela had said.

On November 3, the President will offer prayers at Pashupatinath temple, a UNESCO heritage site. Later, he will be conferred with an honorary degree from Kathmandu University followed a civic reception in Kathmandu in his honour.

The President will also address a seminar of Niti Anusandhan Pratisthan Nepal and India Foundation.

On November 4, a civic reception has been scheduled in his honour at Janakpur, epicentre of protests by Madhesi community, where he will interact with local people. He will also meet leaders of Madhesi community, mostly of Indian-origin, besides offering prayers at the Janaki temple.

The President, who is the supreme commander of the armed forces, will also visit Pokhra on the same day where he will interact with ex-servicemen of Indian Army from Gurkha community. During the visit, the emphasis of the Indian side is to see the implementation of agreements which have already been entered in both sides. 

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