Nepal PM Prachanda's India visit aimed at better ties

He said that there is no connection between his India visit and the matter relating to Constitution amendment

Nepal PM Prachanda

Nepalese Prime Minister Prachanda has expressed his government's commitment on amending the new Constitution to make it acceptable to all sides and said that his forthcoming four-day trip  to New Delhi was not linked to it. Prachanda is scheduled to arrive in New Delhi for a four-day goodwill visit, his first foreign visit after assuming power some six weeks ago.

"There is no connection between my India visit and the matter relating to Constitution amendment," Prachanda said while talking with the leaders of agitating Madhesi parties and ethic groups at the Prime Minister's office on Thursday. "My India visit is a diplomatic issue aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries," he said.

Gap between the government and the agitating United Madhesi Front on the issue of constitution amendment has been narrowed down, he said, adding that both the sides should create an environment of trust for resolving the matter.

"The government is serious about making the Constitution acceptable to all sides," the Prime Minister said.

Madhesi parties had led a six month-long agitation, mainly to protest against the seven-province federal model enshrined in the Constitution. At least 50 people were killed during the protests in south Nepal last year over the issue.

Prachanda has also briefed the Parliament about his upcoming visit to India. While addressing the House, he said that his visit to India would focus on strengthening the bilateral ties.

He said that he would urge the Indian government to help complete the construction of Postal Highway at the earliest. The work of Postal Highway, also known as Hulaki Rajmarg, has been affected because of the delay in getting consent for selection of contractors from the Indian government nine sections. The project has been divided into 17 sections.

India had signed an agreement to give Rs 8 billion as grant to build 607-km stretch of the 1792-km road project.

The Prime Minister said he would also hold discussion with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi regarding implementation of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Development Project and assistance for post-quake reconstruction.

India last year promised to provide $1 billion financial assistance to Nepal for the reconstruction works after the devastating earthquakes.

Prachanda said he would raise the issues including construction of integrated check post at Birgunj and cross-border inundation.

He made it clear that he would sign no agreement with India against national interests. He said he would inspect Nathpa Jhakri Hydropower Project in Himachal Pradesh and also visit Patanjali Yogpeeth and its industrial/manufacturing units in Haridwar during his four-day entourage to India. On Wednesday, Prachanda briefed President Bidya Devi Bhandari about his upcoming state visit to India.