Message From President (शुभकामना सन्देश)

Rt. Hon'ble President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav's Reply Speech at the State Banquet Hosted by H.E. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of the Republic of India

Tuesday, 16th February, 2010

Reply Speech by

Rt. Hon. Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, President of Nepal

at the State Banquet Hosted by

H.E. Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of the Republic of India

New Delhi, 16 February 2010










Your Excellency Pratibha Devisingh Patil

President of the Republic of India,

His Excellency Shri Mohammad Hamid Ansari

Vice-President,

His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister,

Excellencies

Distinguished Guests, and

Ladies and Gentlemen,








1. I fully appreciate warm and cordial words of friendship that Your Excellency has just spoken for me personally and for the people of Nepal. I avail myself of this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Your Excellency for the kind invitation to pay a state visit to this great country and for excellent arrangements made for the visit.



2. Excellency, the exchange of high-level visits and closer understanding constitute the hallmark of our bilateral ties and friendship. In this connection, this visit of mine assumes added significance to me and to the Government and people of Nepal as this is the first ever state visit by the Head of State after the historic changes in Nepal that ushered in the establishment of a republican democratic order. I am privileged to bring with me all the warm feelings and close sentiments of the people and Government of Nepal to the people and Government of India and for their continued peace, prosperity and happiness.



3. I am happy to note that the foundation of Nepal-India relations is as firm and solid as the mighty Himalayas and is as deep as the blue Indian Ocean. Bound by ancient history, geography, culture, religion and shared values, our relations are so wide, extensive and cordial that they reach to the very core of our people. These historical ties between our two countries, fostered by language and cultural heritage, entered in a new era and received a new dimension with growing interaction at political level. 'The Quit India Movement', which ushered a new epoch of free and independent India, also beckoned a new hope and aspiration to democracy in Nepal. Nepal’s pioneer leaders such as B.P. Koirala and Man Mohan Adhikari were greatly inspired from Gandhiji and joined hand in hand with Panditji and other prominent Indian leaders in the struggle of freedom and democracy in our countries.



Excellency,



4. With the momentous changes in 2006, we have made significant strides to institutionalize democratic institutions in Nepal. The most significant achievement has been the successful conclusion of the Constituent Assembly elections with enthusiastic participation of our people. The Assembly is currently engaged in drafting a new constitution reflecting the needs and aspirations of Nepali people to make the country united, politically stable, socially harmonious and economically prosperous. We are committed for the success and sustenance of the historic political development and peace process that followed the systemic change of 2006, and guarantee, on an enduring basis, rule of law, pluralist democracy, human rights, and fundamental freedoms of our people. At this crucial juncture, when Nepali people are rewriting their history, we look forward for greater support and understanding from our friends and well-wishers like India. Besides, our two countries have a common stake for peace and stability in the region.



5. Equally formidable challenges that we are facing today in Nepal is how to bring about rapid and tangible economic benefits to our people. With political transformations, expectations of our people have grown for inclusive economic growth and commensurate social development. In order to meet the developmental challenges, we are striving fully to mobilise our domestic resources and to garner international support and cooperation. We greatly value the goodwill and cooperation that we have been receiving from India in the quest for socio-economic transformation of our country.



Excellency,



6. We are always thankful for India’s generous support and cooperation in our development efforts. The areas of cooperation from India have been wide and diverse ranging from infrastructure to the development of health and education sectors in Nepal. Construction of roads and bridges, schools and hospitals, and supply of drinking water and electricity in remote villages in Nepal are just few examples that symbolise the genuine feelings and keen willingness of the Government and the people of India to extend helping hand to our developmental needs. It is our firm belief that the areas of future cooperation between our two countries will be further broadened and deepened for mutual benefit of our people.



7. We also strongly believe that both Nepal and India can work closely together to address many common challenges that we face today. The problem of environmental degradation in Nepal, with rapid depletion of forest cover resulting in soil erosion, landslide, flash floods, has serious and long-term bearings to both our countries. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to chart a cooperative strategy for mitigation of these serious problems we are facing in Nepal, with wide-ranging environmental implications to India as well. It is in this context that we should give urgent attention to saving the fast deteriorating ecology of the Chure-Sivalik Range in Nepal that has potential impact on the lives and livelihood of millions of people in our countries.



8. Similarly, Nepal-India relations are extensive and deeply rooted at people-to-people level on day-to-day basis. If Varanasi, Mathura and Vrindhaban have special place in the heart of our people in Nepal so do Pashupatinath, Mithila and Janakpur in the heart of the Indian people. Lumbini in Nepal, revered birthplace, and Bodhgaya in India, place of enlightenment, are both sacred places for pilgrimages and are known for Gautam Buddha for his message of peace, non-violence, harmony and understanding. Such examples abound, which reflect unique and harmonious relations deeply rooted in the canvas of our people, for centuries. We should, therefore, focus our efforts to enhance people’s interaction even at higher plane. In this respect, I may mention that there are many cultural heritage sites in Nepal known to many Indian people but the frequency of their visit to those places have been handicapped owing to lack of adequate infrastructure and physical connectivity. We should work together for the development of those cultural heritage sites in Nepal having potential for greater interaction between our two people.



Excellency,



9. We in Nepal highly admire the significant progress that India has achieved in the past six decades of her independence. India’s sustained and resilient economic growth over the years has been remarkable. Her achievement in the sphere of science and technology has been marvelous. Impressive growth of physical infrastructure and social development in such sectors as health and education has made India an economic powerhouse in the 21st century. As Nepal's economy is closely linked to India, we are positioned to reap maximum benefits from vast economic complementarities between our two countries. I am confident that many new economic areas of cooperation will herald between our two countries in the days to come for the mutual benefits of our people.



Excellency,



10. As I expressed earlier, Nepal-India relations are confluence of political, economic, and unique ties at people-to-people level. It cannot be defined by only one element, let alone be confined to one dimension. These multi-faceted and multi-dimensional relations have been nurtured by frequent contacts and interactions at various levels. I am confident that my first visit to India as the Head of State of a new Republic of Nepal will contribute to further consolidating our mutually beneficial close relations.



11. With these words, may I invite, Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, to join me in proposing a toast: to the health and happiness and long life of Her Excellency the President of the Republic of India, to the continued peace and prosperity of the friendly people of India, and for everlasting close bond of friendship between Nepal and India.







Thank you.

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