India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna arrived at the Nepal capital on Friday afternoon to start his three-day visit to the Himalayan nation.
The visit comes at a time when there is a perceived chill in relations between both countries in the wake of the ongoing agitation by opposition Maoists blaming the southern neighbour for most ills besieging the country.
“I had a glimpse of the Himlayas (during the flight) and I was inspired. This visit is to further strengthen the bilateral relations and perhaps extend it to various other areas that have not been covered so far,” he told media persons on his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport.
“India’s foreign policy gives topmost priority to our relations with Nepal,” he added. Krishna is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.
Soon after his arrival Krishna had a meeting with his Nepalese counterpart and Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala followed by another with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at the latter’s residence where both leaders discussed the whole gamut of bilateral relations.
“We have been assured that Nepalese soil is not going to be allowed to be used against any neighbouring country including India and we are satisfied with that,” said Krishna after his meeting with Nepal.
Later in the evening, four MoUs including one on strengthening roads in the Terai region at a cost of Rs 812 crores that will improve connectivity between India and Nepal were signed between both countries.
The others included electrification of five villages with Indian assistance of Rs 15.62 crores and establishment of the Bharat Nepal Maitri Science Learning Centre at Lalitpur at the cost of Rs 8 crores.
Another private agreement between Nepal Stock Exchange Limited and Central Depository Services (India) for setting up of a central depository and clearing and settlement system at a cost of Rs 5.75 crores was also inked.
During his stay, Krishna will also hold meetings with President Ram Baran Yadav, Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and former Prime Minister GP Koirala and also lay the foundation stone of an integrated check post at Birganj on the Indo-Nepal border.
“There are lots of issues that will be covered during the meetings. India is willing to make investments for development in Nepal, but first we need political stability in the country and hope India will provide help and support for that,” said Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala.