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Minister of External Affairs Shri K. Natwar Singh's remarks to the press at Tribhuvan International Airport before departure to New Delhi on June 6, 2004

The Indian Foreign Minister, Natwar Singh, made a press statement in Kathmandu on June 6, 2004, during his visit to Nepal. Presented below is the full text of the statement:

I have concluded a very fruitful and personally rewarding visit to Nepal and I am returning reassured of the strength and resilience of our long-standing and deep-rooted relations with this beautiful country. I am extremely grateful to His Majesty King Gyanendra and to Prime Minster Deuba for receiving me in Kathmandu at short notice and extending to me exceptional courtesies and a very warm and friendly reception. I take this as yet another example of the unique relationship between our two countries. If the choice of Nepal as my first destination reflects the importance India accords to our closest neighbour, the reception I received and the very friendly and open exchange of views I had with the leaders of Nepal, in turn reflects the extraordinary goodwill India enjoys in this country and Nepal enjoys in India.

Nepal is facing difficult challenges, whether it is Maoist insurgency or economic disruption. We welcome the appointment of Mr. Deuba as Nepal's new PM and wish him well in his endeavour to reach a national consensus and hope that he will quickly garner the support of the other political parties. It is only a representative multiparty government, working in close concert with the institution of constitution monarchy, which can restore political stability in Nepal. This would also pave the way for holding elections to a new parliament and tackling the Maoist insurgency through peaceful negotiations.

The visit gave me an opportunity to review our bilateral relations at the highest level. I pledge India's continuing support to Nepal in strengthening its security capabilities and in developing its infrastructure, including in the field of water resources. I have also agreed to share our experience in holding elections with Nepal's Election Commission. The Election Commissioner of Nepal has been invited to visit India soon.

I carry back with me the greetings of King Gyanendra and PM Deuba to our President and Prime Minister and to Smt. Sonia Gandhi. King Gyanendra has asked me to convey his kind invitation to them to visit Nepal. As I said, on my arrival, there is a long-standing tradition of exchanging regular high-level visits between our two countries and I am certain that this will continue in the future. We look forward to receiving PM Deuba in India at an early date. PM Dr. Manmohan Singh and the other Indian leaders are looking forward to an opportunity of continuing the dialogue that has commenced between the new government in Delhi and Kathmandu with my visit.

Thank you.

Source: Official Website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal





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