India has resumed political diplomacy with Nepal after a gap of 15 years with a visit to the northern neighbour by a group of six young parliamentarians.
The four day visit that ended on Tuesday is part of an effort between both nations to increase exchange of parliamentary delegations to promote bilateral relations.
The group that comprised four MPs from areas in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim close to Nepal and two from Orissa had hectic meetings with top brass of most political parties.
They also interacted with President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and Constituent Assembly Chairman Subhash Nemwang to get an idea of political developments.
“The last such exchange between both nations was in 1996 when a group of Nepali MPs went to India. This is the first Indian delegation in many years,” said Indian Embassy spokesperson Apoorva Srivastava.
A joint statement signed during former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s August 2009 visit to India had stressed on the need for exchanges between parliamentarians of both countries.
“Parliamentarians of both sides can make valuable contribution in sharing experiences, exchange views on strengthening democratic norms and for generating fresh ideas to promote bilateral relations,” the statement read.
Both Nepal and PM Manmohan Singh had also agreed to establish a Young Parliamentarians Forum comprising MPs of both nations.
“Ours was an endeavour to know more about Nepal and to better future ties that transcends the usual diplomatic channels,” said leader of the delegation KN Singh Deo, Biju Janata Dal MP from Orissa.
He added that political leaders in Nepal thanked India for its role in the peace process and expressed desire to formulate a new constitution within the May 28 deadline.
OT Lepcha (Sikkim Democratic Front), Pradeep Majhi (Congress), Kamlesh Paswan and Sanjay Jaiswal (BJP) and Niraj Shekhar (Samajwadi Party) were other members of the delegation.