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Updated: August 20, 2009 03:33 IST

India to help Nepal draft Constitution

Special Correspondent
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Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal calls on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan
The Hindu Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal calls on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sudershan

India has offered Nepal assistance in drafting a Constitution, which has made little progress despite the May next deadline.

Though a pact for boosting bilateral trade could not be finalised because of differences over other countries using Nepal as a base to push their products into India, it was agreed to step up assistance for infrastructure and development projects. This emerged during the meetings between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the visiting Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who also met External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and his Nepali counterpart Rajendra Mahato discussed the proposed revised Treaty of Trade and Agreement of Cooperation.

Nepal assured India that it was committed to reforming the industrial policy, simplifying procedures and encouraging investment to reduce trade deficit and prioritise exports.

The new economic policy was expected to incorporate some of these elements, while other measures would be adopted in due course. Mr. Krishna told journalists after the meeting with Mr. Nepal India agreed with the Nepali view of executing development projects, but did not elaborate. It was up to Nepal to deal with the peace process. Mr. Krishna felt Mr. Nepal was confident of stabilising his government.

Mr. Nepal also called on President Pratibha Patil.

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