Kathmandu [Nepal], Nov. 3 : Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said that India and Nepal share unique bilateral ties and that the private sectors of both sides should be encouraged to expand linkages in manufacturing and services and benefit from India's growth story.
President Mukherjee also suggested that Nepal could take useful lessons from the Indian democratic experience as it moves towards a federal democratic republic.
In an interview given to the Kathmandu Post, the President said that he is looking forward to meeting the political leaders and friends in Nepal and exchanging views with them on a range of issues of mutual interests.
"The purpose of my visit is to advance our close and multi-faceted partnership with Nepal further," he said.
The President said that he is also looking forward to the visit of the Nepalese President to India at the earliest convenient time.
On the state of Nepal-India relations, President Mukherjee said that it is excellent and both the governments are determined to work hard to meet the ever growing aspirations of the people for higher standards of living.
He said that the unique bilateral ties between the two countries are defined by their shared cultural traditions, geography and civilizational linkages.
The President said, India and Nepal share a common vision of economic prosperity and sustainable development for our peoples and the region.
Ours is a people-centric partnership, and a multi-faceted one. He also said that any differences in the relationship will be managed with sensitivity, goodwill and utmost understanding of each other's vital interests.
Talking about Nepal's ongoing political process, the Indian President said that he is encouraged with the developments in Nepal since the commencement of the peace process in 2006.
"I applaud the efforts and achievements of the Nepali people to consolidate multi-party democracy and strive for peace, progress and economic prosperity," Mukherjee said.
"As a close friend, India wishes the people and government of Nepal every success in pursuit of these objectives," he added.
Responding to a question on India's position on the new constitution of Nepal, President Mukherjee said that as a close neighbour, India is interested in peace, stability and progress of Nepal.
When asked about increasing, trade surplus in favour of India and the solution to counter the trade imbalance, Mukherjee said that both neighbouring countries have to adopt policies that promote mutual investments, create jobs and contribute to national growth.
"While we have maintained steady growth in bilateral trade and investments, we can certainly do much more to facilitate business linkages between the two countries," the President said.
"It is equally important that we address market entry barriers and continue to take measures to facilitate trade and mutual investments," he further said.
Mukherjee further said that India believes that speedy implementation of hydropower projects and promotion of investments between the two countries would not only add to reducing the trade gap but also create jobs in Nepal.
On a question on what Nepal can expect from New Delhi in facilitating its trade and transit and about using Visakhapatnam port for its trade, the Indian President said that the facilities have already been made available at the Visakhapatnam port for the movement of goods to Nepal and also new measures have been taken by us to facilitate the movement of goods between Nepal and Bangladesh through India.
He was also convinced that this facility would be fully utilized by the Nepali businesses. When asked if he would like to convey any important messages about the visit and the larger aspect of Nepal-India relations, Mukherjee said that he is happy to visit the country in the festive season of Tihar and Chhath.
Asserting that India attaches the highest priority to its relations with Nepal, the President said that his country is committed to strengthening its partnership with Nepal and in extending all possible support for the all-round development of excellent bilateral relations.