First foreign trip of the First President of the Himalayan Republic
Dr Ram Baran Yadav has started his first foreign trip (to India) as the first head of the state of the republic of Nepal on Monday (today). President Yadav, who landed in Delhi’s IG International Airport this afternoon, started discussions with Indian leaders at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel where he is staying. Top opposition leaders Lal Krishna Advani and Sharad Yadav paid courtesy call on the president.
“I asked the President his assessment of the situation where writing constitution is not completed in time,” said Advani who is a towering personality in the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party. “The president will be meeting the Prime Minister of India, Foreign Minister and possibly chairperson of the Congress party. I am sure that they would like democracy to be strengthen in Nepal. So is our party and NDA’s (National Democratic Alliance) interest.”
Asked if his party still had reservations about Maoists coming to power in Nepal, Advani replied: “That’s the feeling of many democrats even in Nepal.”
Asked if he raised the issue of Maoist’s ‘anti-India’ agitation in Nepal, Advani said: ” I didn’t raise the issue as that’s not what I am supposed to do. But I said that we would like Nepal’s religious, cultural and political relation with India as farm and strong as they have always been.”
In his meeting with the President, Sharad Yadav, leader of Janata Dal United, asked if the constitution would be written on time in Nepal. He also inquired about the challenges for the completion of drafting a constitution on time.
“The president said that the work is on right track,” said Rajendra Dahal, press adviser to the president. “But it’s slow, he said. The problem is political and the president said Nepal expects best wishes from India reminding India’s role during the time of conflict by helping to bring the Maoists into mainstream.”
Leader of ruling Nationalist Congress Party, D P Tripathi, also paid a courtesy called on the President. Similarly Indian foreign secretary Nirapuma Rao also met the President in the evening.
The president is scheduled to meet his counterpart Prativa Patil, Prime Minister Manmonah Singh, Foreign Minister SM Krishna and other leaders including United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday.
Air Service Agreement and a Memorandum of Understanding with India on constructing Railway infrastructure will be signed at the ministerial level on Tuesday. Similarly two other Memorandums of Understanding on constructing a Polytechnic institute in Hatuda and a Friendship Building in Birganj will also be signed at the secretary level. The railway infrastructure MOU is about extending Indian railway links to five border points with Nepal.
President will go to Haridwar on Wednesday. State Minister for External Affairs Praneet Kaur had received the president at the airport. The president attended a dinner party hosted by the Nepali ambassador to India Rukma Shumser Rana at the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi in the evening.