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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 04.11.2016

Following is the full text of the statement to media by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee upon the conclusion of his State visit to Nepal:

"At the invitation of the President of Nepal the Rt. Hon’ble Bidya Devi Bhandari, I have concluded a very successful State visit to Nepal from 2 to 4 November 2016. This was the first visit of an Indian Head of State to Nepal since 1998.

My delegation included the Minister of State for Defence Dr. Subhash Bhamre, Members of Parliament Shri Bhubaneswar Kalita, Shri L. Ganesan, Shri Jagdambika Pal and Shri R. K. Singh, Senior officials of Rashtrapati Bhavan and MEA were also part of my delegation.

The warmth and affection with which I was received by the people and Government of Nepal was truly overwhelming. It reflects the historic bonds of friendship as well as the unique and multi-faceted people-centric ties that exist between India and Nepal.

The Rt. Hon’ble President of Nepal, Vice-President, Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet received me at the airport.

I held fruitful meetings with Rt. Hon’ble Bidya Devi Bhandari, Vice-President, Prime Minister, former President of Nepal, the entire cross section of the political leadership of the country as well as members of the civil society. I conveyed that India remains committed to enhancing its partnership in all areas of priority for the people and Government of Nepal. As two sovereign nations, we wish to take forward our relationship on the basis of trust, goodwill and mutual benefit. I conveyed the good wishes of the people and government of India to the friendly people of Nepal in their national efforts to achieve peace, stability and development within a federal democratic polity. I reiterated my invitation to Rt. Hon’ble Bidya Devi Bhandari to visit India. She accepted the invitation to visit India with happiness. In all my meetings, I found tremendous goodwill and strong desire to advance our excellent bilateral ties for the benefit of our two peoples.

Underlining the strong cultural and religious ties that unite our two nations and peoples, I visited Pashupatinath Temple, and offered prayers. I announced that India will undertake two small development projects to repair and renovate the Ghats near the Pashupatinath temple on River Bagmati.

I was accorded a civic reception at Rashtriya Sabhagriha by the Kathmandu metropolitan city office, and was presented with the keys of the city. The function was attended by the Prime Minister of Nepal, Cabinet Ministers and distinguished citizens of Kathmandu.

I was conferred an Honorary Doctorate by Kathmandu University, which I accepted with humility on behalf of the people of India. I emphasized to the students and faculty of the University the need to build knowledge partnerships through academic exchanges and invest in research and development. I also stressed the need to promote innovation to enable our talented young minds to realize their dreams for a better future. I announced that from 2017 onwards, Nepali students will have the opportunity to pursue graduate and post-graduate courses in Indian Institutes of Technology on a regular basis. For this, our Institutes of Technology will open their entrance examinations to Nepali students. Aspirants would have the option to write these examinations in Kathmandu. Additionally, 23 post-graduate scholarships for courses in hydel power and water resources management at IIT, Roorkee have been offered to Nepali engineers and experts this year.

I visited the ancient city of Janakpur where I offered prayers at the Janaki Mandir and was accorded civic reception by Janakpur Municipal Corporation. Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Mr. Bimalendra Nidhi, representatives of prominent civic bodies and a large number of residents of the area attended the function. The city of Janakpur symbolizes the long history of our contacts and close friendship and family ties which have existed between our peoples. I announced that India will construct two Dharmashalas along the Parikrama Path,which would be of use to pilgrims from both our countries.

People of Nepal have contributed immensely to the safety and security of India through their service in the Indian Army. They have distinguished themselves through their valour and courage. I visited Pokhara and interacted with Indian ex-serviceman and their families.

I addressed a seminar organized by the Neeti Anusandhan Pratishthan Nepal, Nepal Center for Contemporary Studies and India Foundation, and shared my vision for advancing India-Nepal relations.

My visit to Nepal has been a ‘mission of friendship’ and reflects the priority that India attaches to further strengthening our unique relationship with Nepal. Our destinies are inter-linked and there is recognition on both sides of the need to advance common prosperity. India is determined to support Nepal in its pursuit of peace, stability and development. Both sides agree that focus should now shift to implementation of ongoing bilateral development and connectivity projects as well as projects for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.

I am convinced that my visit has provided new dynamism to our common cooperative endeavours. I am confident that building on shared strength of geography, history and culture, India-Nepal relations are poised to ascend to new heights in the coming years for the mutual benefit of our two peoples”.

This release issued at 1710 hrs.