Prime Minister Koirala wraps up India visit | india | Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Koirala wraps up India visit

According to media reports, New Delhi is planning to provide 1 billion rupees to Nepal, beset by a decade of communist insurgency.

india Updated: Jun 09, 2006 11:21 IST

Nepal's aging Prime Minister was expected to leave India on Friday with a generous aid package for his Himalayan nation, beset by a decade of communist insurgency and political turmoil.

A joint declaration, and an announcement of fresh aid from India for Nepal's reconstruction, was expected later on Friday before Nepalese Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala flies back to Kathmandu, Indian foreign ministry officials said.

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

Poor health has kept the 84-year-old Koirala away from the office since he took over following countrywide anti-monarchy, pro-democracy protests, and he has worked from home.

His personal visit to India -- the first foreign visit since assuming the top post -- was seen as a sign of the close ties between the South Asian neighbours.

In turn, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set aside protocol and went personally to receive Koirala at the airport, a job normally assigned to a junior minister.

After the success of the pro-democracy campaign, Koirala faces the challenge of reviving good governance in Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries where resources have been further sapped by a decade-old Maoist insurgency.

Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, traveling with the premier, told Indian business executives Thursday that a peace process with Maoist rebels has spurred hope for an economic turnaround, and suggested tourism and hydroelectric power as among the industries in which the two countries could collaborate.

"Our strategic location between two emerging economic powerhouses, India and China, offers exciting possibilities," he told a gathering organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.