Delivering concluding remarks at the end of the two-day Nepal-India Bilateral Dialogue on ‘Nepal and India: Exploring New Vistas’ jointly organized by three think tanks of India and Nepal, Mukherjee said India stands ready to share with Nepal its experience of building strong democratic institutions.
“India welcomes the ongoing efforts of the Government of Nepal to take on board all sections of its society for effective implementation of its Constitution and also wishes the people of Nepal every success in this endeavour,” he said.
“We cannot remain hostage to the political baggage of history and prejudice, nor can we continue to follow policies that have failed to lift our people out of poverty. As sovereign nations, we need to move together to achieve our peoples’ aspirations for a better life. We welcome Nepal to be part of India’s growth story.”
“India would like to see a prosperous Nepal, optimally harnessing its abundant natural resources,” he said. “India is committed to assist Nepal in achieving these cherished aspirations of its people.”
The President said the unique bonds of civilisational linkages between India and Nepal, “our time-tested fraternal ties, our open borders and our according national treatment to each other’s citizens underline our shared belief that we have a common destiny. Protected by the mighty Himalayas and nurtured by its river systems, we have vital stakes in the collective progress and well-being of our two peoples and peace in our region. India-Nepal ties continue to be driven and characterised by the socio-economic and developmental imperatives of our two peoples,” he added.
Trade and economic cooperation are foundational pillars of India-Nepal partnership, he said. “We have maintained a steady growth in bilateral trade and mutual investments. But we can do much more to facilitate trade and promote investments. It is important that we encourage our respective private sectors to enhance their engagement.”
The President said as “our security interests are inter-linked, we must continue to consult and coordinate closely to safeguard our shared security interests”.
The President said at a sub-regional level, “we have worked out mutually beneficial arrangements for smooth movement of goods from Bangladesh through India to Nepal and Bhutan”.
The Motor Vehicle Agreement between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal will, no doubt, contribute significantly to the common goal of economic development of the region, he said.
India remains committed to promoting regional cooperation in the framework of the Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), he said, but mutually beneficial cooperation cannot be promoted under the shadow of cross-border terrorism. “We need to act decisively against this scourge on humanity. The international community must work unitedly to thwart and isolate those who use cross border terrorism as an instrument of state policy,” he said, in remarks targetted at Pakistan.
No state should be allowed to sponsor or harbour perpetrators of cowardly acts of terror, he said. “We must be very vigilant and prevent the misuse of our open border by those who do not have the best interests of India and Nepal at heart.”