A day after meeting Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and stressing the importance of “respecting each other’s sensitivities”, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Friday said India and Nepal are “on the same page and share the same vision”.
He also underlined that New Delhi sees itself as the Himalayan nation’s “foremost friend and development partner” in its quest for economic and social development.
“In my meetings here in Kathmandu, with the President and the Prime Minister of Nepal, the Foreign Minister, and my counterpart, the Foreign Secretary, and other dignitaries and officials, I have been left with no doubt that our countries are on the same page and share the same vision,” Shringla said, while delivering a lecture at the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs, a Kathmandu-based think-tank.
On Thursday, Shringla met the top Nepal leadership where they discussed the boundary issue as well.
On Friday, Shringla said the relation between Nepal and India is “intricate” and they share the same geography, civilisational heritage, culture and customs.
“India sees itself as Nepal’s foremost friend and development partner,” he said. “Our aspiration of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas’ and your goal of ‘Samriddh Nepal, Sukhi Nepali’ are entirely compatible.”
Stressing that recent years have given the relationship a new momentum, he said, “For India, Nepal is fundamental to our ‘Neighbourhood First’ approach.”
He said that apart from the common civilisational inheritance, India’s relationship with Nepal rests on four pillars — development cooperation; stronger connectivity; expanded infrastructure and economic projects; and easier and enhanced access to educational opportunities in India for the young people of Nepal. “We will work to Nepal’s priorities.”
The Foreign Secretary’s discussions with Prime Minister Oli included a review of the state of the bilateral relationship, and the potential for bringing India and Nepal closer. Shringla held talks with his Nepal counterpart Bharat Raj Paudyal on a wide range of issues, including the border problem. He also called on Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Friday and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Thursday.
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