Prachanda concludes a fruitful visit to India; EAM Mukherjee urges a working relationship based on “cooperation for economic growth”; Prachanda terms the relationship as “unassailable”
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  • Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) concluded a fruitful visit to India during the week. The Nepalese delegation included the External Affairs Minister, Minister of Water Resources, Communication and Supplies. Reports noted that the broad agenda of Prachanda’s visit included discussions with the Indian leadership issues relating to the Kosi Barrage and the review of the 1950 Friendship Treaty1. Ahead of the visit, Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala had warned Dahal to refrain from signing any deal with India as the Maoist government was a “caretaker government2.”

    However, a lot of fruitful ground was covered during the visit. On the issue of water sharing, both countries decided to set up a ministerial-level committee as well as revive the secretary-level joint committee, which has been non-operational for some time, and set up eight technical committees, to deal with the issues involved3.

    External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged a working relationship based on “cooperation for economic growth” and highlighted the strong “cultural relations” between the two countries4. Opposition leader L. K Advani also assured continued support to Nepal, an assurance which was considered significant due to BJP’S past skepticism about Nepal's transition to a secular republic5. Prachanda on his part termed the relationship between both the countries as “unassailable6.”

    Both the countries also decided to take up “mega projects” and a “comprehensive review of the existing trade and transit arrangements with a view to promoting industrialization in Nepal.” New Delhi also decided to provide approximately Rs. 150 crores for the next three months in order to guarantee steady flow of petroleum supplies to Nepal7.