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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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