Sat, Dec 10, 2016 | updated 12:23 PM IST

My visit to Nepal has been a 'mission of friendship': Prez

Updated: Nov 04, 2016 21:23 IST

New Delhi [India], Nov. 4 (ANI): President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday completed his three-day state visit to Nepal during which he held meetings with his Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice-President Nanda Kishor Pun, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, former president Ram Baran Yadav and several other political leaders and members of the civil society.

During the visit, President Mukherjee conveyed that India remains committed to enhancing its partnership in all areas of priority for the people and Government of Nepal.

"As two sovereign nations, we wish to take forward our relationship on the basis of trust, goodwill and mutual benefit. I conveyed the good wishes of the people and government of India to the friendly people of Nepal in their national efforts to achieve peace, stability and development within a federal democratic polity," said a statement issued in this regard.

President Mukherjee also extended invitation to his Nepalese counterpart to visit India.

He also visited Pashupatinath Temple and announced that India will undertake two small development projects to repair and renovate the Ghats near the Pashupatinath temple on River Bagmati.

Later, he was accorded a civic reception at Rashtriya Sabhagriha by the Kathmandu metropolitan city office, and was presented with the keys in the presence of all senior leaders and distinguished citizens.

President Mukherjee was also conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Kathmandu University where he emphasized the need to build knowledge partnerships through academic exchanges and invest in research and development.

The President also announced that from 2017 onwards, Nepali students will have the opportunity to pursue graduate and post-graduate courses in Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) on a regular basis. For this, the IITs will open their entrance examinations to Nepali students.

Aspirants would have the option to write these examinations in Kathmandu. Additionally, 23 post-graduate scholarships for courses in hydel power and water resources management at IIT Roorkee have been offered to Nepali engineers and experts this year.

President Mukherjee also visited the ancient city of Janakpur where he offered prayers at the Janaki Mandir and was accorded civic reception where he announced that India will construct two Dharmashalas along the Parikrama Path, which would be of use to pilgrims from both our countries.

"People of Nepal have contributed immensely to the safety and security of India through their service in the Indian Army. They have distinguished themselves through their valour and courage," said the statement.

The President also visited Pokhara.

Later, he addressed a seminar organized by the Neeti Anusandhan Pratishthan Nepal, Nepal Center for Contemporary Studies and India Foundation, and shared my vision for advancing India-Nepal relations.

"(His) visit to Nepal has been a 'mission of friendship' and reflects the priority that India attaches to further strengthening our unique relationship with Nepal," said the press statement.

After the visit, both sides agreed that focus should now shift to implementation of ongoing bilateral development and connectivity projects as well as projects for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.

This was the first visit of an Indian Head of State to Nepal since 1998.

The President's delegation included Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Members of Parliament Bhubaneswar Kalita, L. Ganesan, Jagdambika Pal and R. K. Singh besides senior officials of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). (ANI)