India pitches for an 'accommodating' Constitution in Nepal

Nepal's economy was wrecked by last year's devastating quake.

India pitches for an 'accommodating' Constitution in Nepal

New Delhi: As Nepal grapples with a fractious political transition, India today conveyed to its new Prime Minister that its Constitution should be implemented by accommodating aspirations of all sections and also pledged support to rebuild its infrastructure.

After wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the two sides inked three pacts including one on India extending USD 750 million for Nepal's post-quake reconstruction and another on laying of roads by India in Terai region. Nepal's economy was wrecked by last year's devastating quake.

The decisions assume significance amidst China's growing efforts to expand its influence over Kathmandu.

Modi and Dahal, who is popularly known as Prachanda, had extensive discussions on the political situation in Nepal and decided to ramp up trade, improve rail and road connectivity and ensure speedy completion of major infrastructure projects being implemented by India in Nepal.

Dahal, who is here on his first visit abroad after becoming Prime Minister for the second time, said his government was trying to "bring everyone on board" in implementing the new Constitution some provisions of which have been strongly opposed by the Madhesi community, mostly of Indian-origin.

The Madhesis have been saying that certain provisions in the Constitution will politically marginalise it. The prolonged protests and economic blockade by Madhesis few months back had triggered tensions between Nepal and India.

"You have been a catalytic force of peace in Nepal. I am confident that under your wise leadership, Nepal will successfully implement the Constitution through inclusive dialogue accommodating the aspirations of all sections of your diverse society," Modi told Dahal during a joint media interaction after the talks.

Nepal has been battling uneasy political transition in the last few months. KP Sharma Oli had to quit the post of Prime Minister in July following fresh political turmoil due to protest of Madheshi community against the new Constitution.

On his part, Dahal said, "You are aware that my government has made serious efforts to bring everyone on board as we enter the phase of implementation of the Constitution in the interest of all segments of Nepalese society."

Modi said as immediate neighbours and close friendly nations, peace, stability and economic prosperity (Shanti, Sthirta aur Samrudhi) of Nepal is "our shared objective."

He further said, "We share our burden during difficult times, just as we celebrate each other's achievements. Indeed, our friendship is time-tested and unique.

"As immediate neighbours and close friendly nations, peace, stability, and economic prosperity of Nepal is our shared objective. At every step of Nepal's development journey and economic progress, we have been privileged to be your partner."

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said India has agreed on what would constitute next line of credit and heeded to a request by Nepal to increase granting Rs 3 lakh instead of Rs 2 lakh in building 50,000 houses in quake devastated regions of the Himalayan nation.