India, Nepal Ink Nine Agreements

20/02/2016 8:54 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
NEW DELHI - INDIA - FEBRUARY 20: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) welcomes Nepalese Prime Minister, Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli ,during a ceremonial reception in New Delhi on February 2016. Prime minister K. P Oli is on his first bilateral visit to India after assuming charge as Prime Minister. He is scheduled to meet with top Indian politicians during his 6 days long visit. (Photo by Imtiyaz khan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

India and Nepal held extensive talks on Saturday with a focus on repairing ties soured in the wake of a four-month -long agitation by the Indian-origin Madhesi community.

India told Nepal that success of its new constitution will depend on resolution of contentious issues through "consensus and dialogue" in a time-bound manner.

"India is for peace, stability and overall development of Nepal," Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted after meeting his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli, who on his part said the main reason for his visit was to clear "misunderstandings" in ties that persisted in the last few months and that they "no longer exist".

The two sides signed nine agreements including one on utilisation of Indian grant of USD 250 million to Nepal for post-earthquake reconstruction and another on improving of road infrastructure in Nepal's Terai region bordering India.

Calling finalisation of Constitution a major achievement for Nepal, Modi expressed the hope that all political parties will come together to successfully resolve "remaining" Constitutional issues satisfactorily, taking in considerations aspirations of all sections of the society.

"The drafting and announcement of the new Constitution after decades of struggle in Nepal is a major achievement. I appreciate the contribution of the political leadership and all sections of the society in Nepal in its making.

""But its success depends on consensus and dialogue. I am confident on the basis of these principles and through political dialogue and by taking all sections together, you (Oli) will be able to resolve all issues relating to the Constitution satisfactorily and take Nepal forward towards the path of development and stability," Modi said in his media statement, in presence of Oli.

In the meeting, Modi stressed that Nepal's stability was linked to India's security. On combating terrorism, he said, "We will not allow terrorists and criminals to use our open border. In this regard the security agencies of the two countries will intensify cooperation."

Asked if the Nepalese Prime Minister could address India's concerns, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said the "tone and tenor" of the visit was forward-looking, adding assurances given on addressing grievances within Nepal if left unaddressed may "detract" the country from stability.

"This was not a recriminatory visit. This was a forward- looking visit. It was a visit in a cooperative sense," he said, replying to a barrage of questions on whether India was satisfied with Nepal's assurance on issues relating to the new Constitution.

He said Modi expressed the hope that all the outstanding issues in the Constitution will be resolved in a time-bound manner.

On whether India was worried about Nepal getting closer to China, Jaishankar rejected such apprehensions saying the word China did not come up in the talks.

In his statement, Oli, who arrived here yesterday on his first foreign visit after becoming Prime Minister in October last year, said he came to clear misunderstandings and "have done so".

Ties between the two countries had soured in the wake of agitation by the Madhesi community, which shares close family and cultural ties with Indians, saying it failed to address their concerns over representation and homeland.

The agitators had blocked trading points for almost four months crippling supply of petroleum products, medicines and other commodities by India to that country. The blockade was lifted this month. .

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