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Nepal's Finance Minister to seek Indian investment

Nepal's FM was set to address Indian business leaders on Thursday to seek new investment in his poor country.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 12:08 IST

Nepal's Finance Minister was set to address Indian business leaders on Thursday to seek new investment in his poor country, where a peace process with communist rebels has spurred hope for an economic turnaround.

Several Indian companies have investments in Nepal, but their facilities have been targeted in recent years by Maoist rebels, who have attacked or extorted money from the firms.

Nepalese Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat was to address the Confederation of Indian Industry, a leading business group, a day after India said it was preparing an aid package to help rebuild the country after a decade-long insurgency and more recent and widespread civil unrest.

New Delhi is reportedly planning to provide 1 billion rupees ($21.7 million; euro17.5 million) for Nepal's immediate needs, and to commit millions of dollars (euros) for the Himalayan nation's long-term development, including building roads, bridges and railroads.

Mahat is travelling with Nepal's Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who is making his first foreign trip since taking power in April following weeks of protests that forced King Gyanendra to end his royal dictatorship. Koirala met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.

The Maoists supported the anti-government protests organised by a coalition of political parties, Koirala's among them. The new government is now holding peace talks with the insurgents, who began fighting in 1996 for a communist state.

First Published: Jun 08, 2006 12:08 IST