Kathmandu, Nov 4 (IANS) Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said his three-day state visit to Nepal was successful and reflects the priority that India attaches to further strengthening its unique relationship with the Himalayan country.
“Our destinies are interlinked and there is a recognition on both sides for the need to advance common prosperity,” Mukherjee said in a statement here before wrapping up his Nepal visit.
Earlier, the Indian President received a rousing welcome in Kathmandu, Janakpur and Pokhara.
He was seen off at the airport by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who also received him when he arrived here for the visit to signify the importance Nepal attaches to his visit.
The thaw in the bilateral ties comes after a five-month economic blockade on the Nepal-India border after the promulgation of the new Constitution in September last year.
India is determined to support Nepal in its pursuit of peace, stability and development, said Mukherjee.
Both sides agreed that the focus should now shift to implementation of the ongoing bilateral developmental and connectivity projects as well as projects for the reconstruction of Nepal after the April 2015 earthquake.
“The warmth and affection with which I was received by the people and the government of Nepal was truly overwhelming,” the Indian President said, adding that “our destinies are interlinked and there is recognition on both sides of the need to advance common prosperity”.
Mukherjee was conferred an honorary D.Litt degree by the Kathmandu University, and accorded civic receptions in Kathmandu and Janakpur, where he was handed keys of the respective cities to honour him.
“It reflects the historic bonds of friendship as well as the unique and multi-faceted people-centric ties that exist between India and Nepal,” he said.
During his meeting with Nepal President Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and different political leaders, 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,” his departure statement read.
He said that in all his meetings in Nepal, he found tremendous goodwill and strong desire to advance excellent bilateral ties for the benefit of the people of the two countries.
While performing special ‘puja’ at the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu, he announced that India will undertake two small developmental projects to repair and renovate the temple ghats on the Bagmati river.
After receiving the honorary doctorate at the Kathmandu University, Mukherjee said that from 2017 onwards, Nepali students will get an opportunity to pursue graduate and post-graduate courses in the Indian Institutes of Technology on a regular basis.
For this, the IITs will open their entrance examinations to Nepali students.
Additionally, 23 post-graduate scholarships for courses in hydroelectricity and water resources management at IIT-Roorkee have been offered to Nepali engineers and experts this year, he announced.
During his visit to Janakpur on Friday, the Indian President was accorded a civic reception by the town’s municipality, where he announced that India will construct two dharamshalas along the Parikrama Path, which would be of use to pilgrims from both countries.
Pokhara, another famous tourist city of Nepal known as ‘City of Lakes’, Mukherjee addressed over 10,000 Indian ex-Gurkhas at the Pension Paying Office and interacted with them.
“The 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. I visited Pokhara and interacted with Indian ex-serviceman and their families,” the President said in his statement.
Mukherjee said he was convinced that his visit provided new dynamism to common cooperative endeavours and that he was confident that India-Nepal relations are poised for new heights in the coming years on the shared strength of geography, history and culture, for the mutual benefit of our people.
By Anil Giri