Nepal PM Koirala to visit India next week | india | Hindustan Times
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Nepal PM Koirala to visit India next week

Girija Prasad Koirala will visit India next week to ink an agreement with New Delhi for a massive economic assistance project.

india Updated: Jun 02, 2006 11:52 IST

Nepal's new Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala will visit India next week to ink an agreement with New Delhi for a massive economic assistance project as well as discuss security issues.

The trip to India comes a month after Koirala took up reins of the government and pledged to bring peace and economic development.

The ailing octogenarian prime minister will proceed to Bangkok from New Delhi for medical treatment.

The brief visit will see Koirala arriving in New Delhi on the evening of June 6 and departing for Bangkok on June 8.

Though suffering from respiratory problems, the premier put the India visit before the medical trip so that New Delhi's new economic assistance package for Nepal, dubbed the 'Himalayan Marshall Plan' by the press, can be unveiled.

Just as the American Marshall Plan assisted the economic recovery of 17 European nations following World War II, the Himalayan Marshall Plan is a massive assistance project combining loans, concessions and infrastructure development.

It would be an important factor for Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat to keep under consideration as he begins drawing up the budget, which will be tabled in parliament this month.

So, till Monday, Koirala was scheduled to visit Bangkok first, but the plan was revised within 24 hours.

Besides stabilising Nepal's economy that took a severe beating during the 15 months of King Gyanendra's direct rule and the continuous nationwide shutdown in April for 19 days, Koirala will also discuss with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the ongoing peace negotiations with Maoist guerrillas.

As the rebels and the government resumed peace negotiations last month, both sides agreed to ask the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kathmandu to monitor the ongoing ceasefire. That issue is also likely to be discussed during the talks.

Koirala's India visit would not be liked by the royalists, who have already begun a propaganda against the upcoming Indian assistance.

People's Review, a pro-palace weekly that according to the white paper tabled by Mahat in parliament last month received heavy financial aid from the royalist government during the king's direct rule, wrote that India was "pushing its economic roadmap to bring Nepal completely under its economic and political control".