Expressing his pleasure at the progress in peace and statute-drafting, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he welcomes an agreement reached among Nepal’s political parties on adopting the new constitution.
Hinting at the 16-point political and constitutional deal signed by four major parties on June 8, which led to the preliminary draft of the constitution, Modi told visiting UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at 7 Race Course in New Delhi on Friday that he welcomed the agreement.
According to a statement issued by the Indian PMO, Dahal briefed Modi on the constitution drafting process in Nepal.
“The prime minister appreciated the recent progress and expressed hope that outstanding issues would be resolved at the earliest, so that the constitution that is adopted enjoys the support of all sections of the society and helps build an inclusive, stable and prosperous Nepal,” read the statement.
“You have been playing a leading role since the inception of the peace process to the constitution drafting process,” Modi reportedly told Dahal, adding that India would always support efforts to conclude the ongoing political process in Nepal.
According to Arjun Pathak, a Maoist leader privy to the meeting, Dahal told Modi that India’s support was necessary at this crucial hour and he had come to seek India’s help to conclude these processes.
Reminding Modi of his speech delivered at Nepal’s parliament last year and his statement on resolving the boundary row in Kalapani and Susta, Dahal raised the issue of Lipu-Lekh Pass on Nepal’s western border. India and China, during Modi’s Beijing visit on May 25, signed an agreement to build a trade route through Lipu-Lekh, a territory claimed by Nepal.
“Lipu-Lekh is located in the disputed Kalapani area on the Nepal-India border. India should reconsider the agreement reached with China to develop a trade route through it,” Dahal told Modi. But the Indian PM had no immediate answer. The Maoist chairman thanked Modi for Indian assistance delivered in the aftermath of two powerful earthquakes in Nepal and the $1 billion aid announced at the donors’ conference in Kathmandu on June 25. Modi reiterated India’s commitment to fully support Nepal in post-quake reconstruction, according to the PMO.
During the half-an-hour meeting, Dahal was accompanied by his wife Sita, his personal aide Shiva Khakurel and Pathak. S Jaisahakar, Indian foreign secretary, India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae were present from the Indian side. However, no official from Nepal’s embassy in New Delhi was present. Dahal also met with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday afternoon. “I am happy that constitution-writing has moved ahead based on the agreements among the parties. It would be good if we can accommodate voices from all sections,” Khakurel quoted Mukherjee as telling Dahal.