New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee received Rt. Hon’ble Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari, President of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal yesterday (18.04.2017) at Rashtrapati Bhavan. He also hosted a banquet in her honour.
Welcoming the President of Nepal, the President said that he was delighted to have this opportunity to receive her as the first woman President of the country. He said her choice of India for the first State Visit abroad is appreciated.The President fondly remembered his recent visit to Nepal and meetings with her last year. He thanked the President of Nepal and the Government and people of Nepal for the overwhelming warmth and gracious hospitality accorded during his visit.
The President said India is happy that Nepal is engaged in the important task of implementing the Constitution and pursuing a progressive and inclusive political agenda. He said India deeply valuesits historical and traditionally close relations with Nepal. The long shared open border and national treatment of each other reflect a closeness that few other countries share.
Later, in his banquet speech, President Pranab Mukherjee said the close bonds of kinship and cooperation between India and Nepal are defined by geography and enriched by common culture and history. Our age-old fraternal relations have been nurtured by successive Governments and leaders in both India and Nepal into a dynamic and enriching partnership. We consider it natural and logical that as neighbours with a unique and exemplary relationship, both nations should continuously build on our many complementarities, explore all opportunities and pursue new avenues of co-operation to our mutual benefit.
The President said, India has an abiding interest in the socio-economic development of Nepal. We believe that the prosperity, security and welfare of our two nations are inter-linked and inter-dependent. India is committed to extending all possible support in accordance with the priorities of the people and Government of Nepal. Today, as democratic and pluralistic nations, both India and Nepal aspire for a higher growth rate, an inclusive society, sustainable development and an external environment that facilitates our national development. Both our peoples are opposed to the menace of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Development and progress is what is of utmost importance to us. Towards our common goals, we have been co-operating closely, to very successful outcomes.
The President said Nepal is passing through a crucial phase in its quest for peace, stability and multi-party democracy with the aim of consolidating the gains of democracy and achieving economic prosperity. India lauds the enterprise and achievements of the people of Nepal. Their wisdom and resilience will, no doubt, succeed in forging consensus through dialogue and understanding so as to achieve their objectives within a federal and democratic framework, taking all sections of their society on board.
The President said the visit of Nepal President has provided an opportunity to reaffirm our special relationship and to identify ways and means of further enriching our multifaceted partnership. She will find one clear and consistent message of India’s unequivocal commitment to bilateral co-operation and friendship with Nepal. India also seeks to advance our common interests through regional and sub-regional co-operation based on respect and sensitivity to each other’s interests and concerns. The President said together, we can work with our neighbours for a better future for our respective peoples and indeed our whole region.