Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala with foreign diplomats at Tribhuwan International Airport before leaving for New Delhi on Tuesday. Pic, first published in eKantipur, by Bikas Rauniar
After American President George W. Bush, it was today the turn of Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to be received by the Indian Prime Minister at the New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport in the recent memory [Bill Clinton was received in 2000 by Foreign Minister Jashwant Singh]. “You are the greatest leader in South Asia,” said Man Mohan Singh, the Indian leader, while shaking hands of his Nepali counterpart. “We respect you and we are proud of you.”
Koirala is officially visiting India as a Prime Minister of a government formed by the historical Peoples’ Movement that forced an autocratic king to give up the power and restore the House of Representative that was dissolved four years in mysterious circumstances. Koirala was demanding the restoration of the House from the very beginning and the 84-year-old president of Nepali Congress party was the leader of the Seven Party Alliance that organized the April Revolution with the direct help of the Maoist party. Koirala, as the head of the (new) Nepal government, genuinely deserved that respect from India, our closest neighbor. This response of Prime Minister Singh has been interpreted as Indian peoples’ salute to the Nepal’s historical peoples’ movement and its achievement.
But those were the words from India; we are yet to see those beautiful words turned into action. India can turn those words into actions by providing assistance and offering help to us without adding strings and hidden fees. Koirala is in New Delhi with a mission: to get as much help and assistance from India as possible. Nepal is in need of all kinds of help- from budgetary to bilateral- from India but not at any cost. We feel that India has done enough harm and taken things away from us already. This is the time India pays back. So far the signals have been encouraging. Results will be seen pretty much soon. Koirala will be holding formal talks with Man Mohan Singh Wednesday.
Based on reporting by Kantipur senior reporter Balaram Baniya and special correspondent Surendra Phuyal in New Delhi
Nepal to seek Rs 75b for five years
PM’s India Visit
By Prem Khanal in the Kathmandu Post. (here is the original article)
KATHMANDU, June 5 – Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who is beginning a four-day official visit to India from Tuesday, will request the Indian government for development aid worth Rs 75 billion for the next five years.
The government’s ‘wish list’, which was presented in the cabinet today by Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, mainly aims to seek Indian assistance in infrastructure development, said a government source. The proposed aid volume is far higher than what India has been extending to Nepal annually. Currently, India provides about two billion rupees worth of development aid.
Apart from budgetary support, the government will seek Indian assistance in hydropower, roads and aviation sectors, said officials and added that the ‘wish list’ has received positive signals from India.
During bilateral negotiations, the government is proposing special Indian assistance for the development of at least one big hydropower project to tackle the worsening power crisis in the country.
Sources said the government is planning to propose three mega projects – 600 MW Budigandaki, 400 MW Arun III and 300 MW Upper Karnali for Indian assistance.
However, Indian officials have shown interest in developing the 300-MW Upper Karnali, which is estimated to cost US$ 500 million, said the source.
The government is also proposing financial support of four billion rupees for construction and maintenance of 600 kilometers of road particularly in the hilly region, and construction of 23 bridges along the East -West highway. The construction of bridges alone is estimated to cost over one billion rupees. The request for road construction would be in addition to the 1500 km road construction in the Terai region, to which India is already committed.
The visiting delegation will also request the Indian government to extend budgetary support of one billion rupees to address the liquidity problem likely to arise in the next
fiscal year starting from mid-July.
Likewise, the government will also request deferment of payment of huge outstanding dues by state-owned Nepal Oil Corporation to Indian Oil Corporation. The accumulated dues have crossed five billion rupees and the government wishes to convert the dues into a long-term loan, said the official.
The government will also propose a waiver of Rs 1.6 billion worth of arms and ammunition dues. India had supplied arms, ammunition and military equipment worth over seven billion rupees between 2003 and 2005.
The government will also request the Indian government for support in establishing a polytechnic institute in the far western region. With regard to other infrastructure development, Nepal will ask for a detailed survey of East-West railway, while India has shown interest in constructing at least one airport in the hilly districts.
Likewise, the government will request the Indian government to scrap the four-percent additional duty slapped on imports from Nepal.