New Delhi: As he embarks on his second visit to Nepal to attend the SAARC Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that he hopes the meet will lead to concrete outcomes, especially with regard to connectivity projects between the eight South Asian neighbours.
In a departure statement prior to leaving for Kathmandu to attend the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit, Modi said he was looking forward to holding bilateral talks with the South Asian leaders on the sidelines of the two-day summit and to review the progress in bilateral relations with Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
Modi said though it is his first SAARC Summit, he has "interacted extensively with leaders of SAARC countries beginning with their auspicious presence at my swearing in ceremony" on May 26.
"Development of close relations with our neighbours is a key priority for my government," he said in the statement.
The 18th SAARC Summit will focus on the theme of "Deeper Regional Integration for Peace and Prosperity".
"India has always emphasized the importance of greater regional integration at all levels for the socio-economic development of the South Asian region. We have undertaken several initiatives in this regard on bilateral, sub-regional and regional basis, and will continue to do more.
"We hope that the summit will lead to concrete outcomes, particularly in regard to various initiatives on enhancing connectivity that have been under discussion for a long time," he said.
Modi said the fact that it will be his second visit to Nepal in the six months since he has taken over "reflects the importance we attach to our unique and special relations with Nepal".
"There has been significant progress in the implementation of the decisions taken during my visit to Nepal in August 2014. I look forward to reviewing the progress in our relations with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and other Nepalese leaders.
"We also hope to conclude some concrete agreements in the areas of connectivity and development cooperation," he said.
Modi had visited Nepal in August, in the first stand-alone bilateral prime ministerial visit to the Himalayan country in 17 years.