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India, Nepal need each other, says Shringla in Kathmandu

Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. File photo   | Photo Credit: PTI

India and Nepal “need” each other, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at a public lecture in Kathmandu on Friday.

The lecture at a think tank followed Mr. Shringla’s Thursday meeting with Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli, where the Nepalese leader insisted on solving the border disputes at Kalapani and Susta for the sake of future generations, and his counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal.

“We would like our friends in Nepal to share our dreams and be a part of this journey. We cannot do it alone, just as you cannot fulfil your dreams alone. In our region, our South Asia, we are symbolically linked. We need each other”, stated Mr. Shringla at the lecture organised by the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA).

Nepal ‘fundamental’ to GoI

He said Nepal was “fundamental” to the “Neighbourhood First” concept of the Government of India. “India's development and modernisation are incomplete and intrinsically and symbiotically linked to the development and modernisation of neighbouring countries such as Nepal”, he noted.

Mr. Shringla’s speech was delivered on virtual mode and telecast by Nepalese media channels.

Mr. Oli’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Rajan Bhattarai said, “We will continue our foreign policy on the basis of Panchsheela and non-alignment and Nepal will never allow its territory to be used against Indian interests. But we have couple of issues that remain as a result of historic developments and these should be addressed satisfactorily”. He was referring to the Kalapani-Lipulekh-Limpiyadhura dispute, which disturbed the ties between two sides for more than a year.

Mr. Oli communicated that India and Nepal should be “bold” enough to address the lingering territorial issues so that the future generations could focus on their developmental requirements. “The Prime Minister communicated to the Indian Foreign Secretary that Nepal is not interested in using any card against India to advance its interests, but India should hold talks to resolve the outstanding issues”, said Mr. Bhattarai.

Post quake project

In the concluding part of his two-day trip, Mr. Shringla paid a visit to a post earthquake reconstruction project in Gorkha district to supervise a scheme that he highlighted in his speech at the AIDIA. “As a neighbour and friend, India sees itself as Nepal’s natural and instinctive responder in times of crisis,...46,000 houses have been built in Gorkha and Nuwakot. They incorporate earthquake resilient technologies in line with your motto of ‘Build Back Better’. We have suffered together and we have fought back together”, he said.

In his speech, Mr. Shringla repeatedly addressed the audience in Nepali, his mother tongue.

He promised that vaccines for COVID-19 that were being developed in India would be readily made available for Nepal. “Dozens of sites across India are conducting vaccine trials on all ages and social groups. I would like to assure the people of Nepal that, once a vaccine is rolled out, meeting Nepal’s requirements would be a priority for us."

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 5:22:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-sees-itself-as-nepals-foremost-friend-and-development-partner-shringla/article33191754.ece

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