1950 Friendship treaty, terror, trade high on Koirala`s talks
Last Updated: Monday, August 10, 2009, 21:49
New Delhi: Review of the 59-year-old Indo-Nepal friendship treaty, cross-border terrorism and increased trade and investment will be high on the agenda of Nepalese Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala when she holds discussions with Indian leadership beginning tomorrow.

The visit by Koirala, who arrived here today at the invitation of External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, comes ahead of Nepalese Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal's trip to India scheduled early next week.

Besides holding talks with Krishna, Koirala will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Minister A K Antony.

"The focus of the visit will be on enhancing trade relations and increasing Indian investment," Koirala has said ahead of her talks with the Indian leadership tomorrow.

She said Nepal will continue to pursue its foreign policy based on "economic diplomacy" and try to get maximum benefit from emerging economies like India and China.

"India has played a vital role in Nepal's economic development and we hope to increase India's participation in our development endeavours," 54-year-old Koirala, the daughter of former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, said.

The review of the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 will also figure during the talks, she said adding India also wants to have a re-look at the pact.

The Maoists have since long been demanding a review of the treaty which provides for free movement of people and goods between the two nations.

Koirala said issues pertaining to cross-border criminal activities, flood problems and implementing past agreements on hydro-electricity projects will also come up for discussion with Indian leaders.

"We will discuss about criminal and terrorist activities being carried out by different armed groups in the open border as we need India's help for maintaining peace in Southern Nepal," she said.

The Nepalese Minister will also deliver a talk on Indo-Nepal relations tomorrow.

The visit will provide a "useful opportunity for both sides to discuss issues of mutual interest and to further strengthen the friendly ties between the two countries," an official statement of the External Affairs Ministry has said.

The rising criminal and terrorist activities along the border is an issue of mutual interest, she pointed out adding that "it is also in India's interest to control such criminal activities on the open border."

"We are facing a big problem of security as we move forward in the peace process. India's support and cooperation will be crucial in improving security in the border and for the success of the peace process," she said.

Nepal will ask India to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers "so that we can reduce the increasing trade deficit and uplift our economy as we are passing through a political transition," she said. At present, the trade deficit stands at USD 13.82 million.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, August 10, 2009, 21:49

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