Sun, Dec 11, 2016 | updated 01:59 AM IST

President Mukherjee to visit Nepal on Nov 2, to further bolster age-old ties

Updated: Oct 28, 2016 16:48 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct. 28 (ANI): As President Pranab Mukherjee is set to kick off his three-day state visit to Nepal on November 2, India will be looking to further cementing its close and multifaceted ties with the people and the Government of the Himalayan Nation.

The President will touch down in Kathmandu around the noon of November 2 at the invitation of Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation.

President Mukherjee will be the first Indian head of state to visit Nepal in 18 years, and it will also be the first visit by any head of state to Nepal after it became Republic in 2008.

"The special goodwill visit of the President to Nepal is the first high-level visit from India since the formation of the new government in Kathmandu in August this year, which reflects the priority that we attach to further strengthening our age-old unique partnership with Nepal and our shared historical and cu8ltural linkages and wide ranging people to people contact," said Sudhakar Dalela, Joint Secretary (North), Ministry of External Affairs, at a press briefing on Friday.

"During the visit the President Mukherjee will be holding talks with President Bhandari, Vice President Nanda Kishor Pun, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other leaders on a variety of issues of mutual interest with the objective of expanding ties with Nepal," said Dalela.

He further said the intensive high-level engagements in recent times have provided considerable momentum to India's close and friendly ties with Nepal. "Our Prime Minister's land mark visit to Nepal in August and November 2014; and visits of Prime Ministers of Nepal to India this year in February, September and a few days earlier for BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in Goa recently," he said, adding that the India External Affairs Minister visited Nepal five times in the last two years or so.

Besides high-level political exchanges, he said, a number of bilateral mechanisms at the functional level have met in recent times, covering issues such as trade, economic cooperation, agriculture, water resources power cooperation defence and security, culture, education and connectivity projects.

Ahead of the President's visit, the India-Nepal Joint Commission Meeting was concluded that was co-chaired by the two Foreign Ministers, and reviewed all aspects of the bilateral relations.

The Joint Commission reviewed the progress in projects covered under the Lines of Credits, and agreed to expedite their implementation. Both sides agreed to closely monitor progress of all development and infrastructure projects such as the Terai Roads, the cross-border rail links, development of integrated check-posts, cross-border transmission line projects, hydro-power project, cross-border oil pipeline, and address any bottlenecks on both sides to expedite the implementation of these projects, said a Ministry of External Affairs statement.

India conveyed its readiness to move forward expeditiously on post-earthquake reconstruction projects in partnership with the Government of Nepal, within the inter-governmental framework of India's assistance package of one billion US dollar. Besides, both sides decided to convene bilateral mechanisms at an early date to promote cooperation in areas such as trade, transit, civil aviation, water resources, said the statement.

In the afternoon of November 2, there will be calls by the Nepal Vice President, Prime Minister and other dignitaries. On the same day the President will meet the President of Nepal, who will be hosting a banquet in his hour in the evening. Thereafter, the President will be attending a civic reception in Kathmandu, and will address a think tank event, said Dalela.

On November 3, Prime Minister Dahal will be hosting a banquet in the honour of President Mukherjee. Thereafter, Kathmandu University will confer an honorary doctorate on the President at a special function.

Apart from Kathmandu, the President will be visiting the sites of cultural and historical significance at Pokhara as well as the ancient city of Janakpur.

President Mukherjee will be travelling back to India in the afternoon of November 4. (ANI)