Nepal wants to ‘revive’ SAARC; keep good relations with India as well as China: Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda

By: | Published: September 7, 2018 9:38 PM

Nepal wants to "revive" the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and get its stalled summit convened at the earliest, former Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" said Friday, asserting that SAARC and BIMSTEC groupings do not substitute but complement each other.

nepal, nepal india news, saarc news, saarc news latest, saarc news important, saarc news latest now, saarc news trendingThe last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Reuters)

Nepal wants to “revive” the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and get its stalled summit convened at the earliest, former Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” said Friday, asserting that SAARC and BIMSTEC groupings do not substitute but complement each other. Prachanda, who is here on a three-day visit, also said Nepal’s monarchs earlier used to play the China and India “cards”, but that was not the case now and his country wants close relations with both the countries.

He said India’s multi-dimensional progress has not only inspired Nepal, but also provided a “solid lesson that things are doable”. Delivering the Sapru House Lecture here, the Chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party said India is cruising on its development journey with the slogan of ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’, while Nepal’s development vision was captured in ‘samriddha Nepal sukhi Nepali’.

Both are the transformative visions for inclusive and sustained development process that seeks to ensure that no one is left behind, he said. “As a close neighbour, we are delighted to see India’s rapid march on the path of development and its rising global stature,” said Prachanda, whose last stint as premier lasted less than a year and ended in 2017.

He said there was no comparison between Indo-Nepal and Sino-Nepal ties and asserted that the relationship between India and the Himalayan nation was “unique”. “Beyond the respective border, our two countries do share a dream of regional prosperity and better regional cooperation,” Prachanda said in his address. As the current Chair of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Nepal’s desire is to “revive” it and see a conducive environment for early convening of the stalled summit, he said.

“We believe that the SAARC and the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) do not substitute but complement each other,” he said. SAARC summits are usually held biennially. The member state hosting the summit assumes the Chair of the Association. The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 2016 SAARC summit was to be held in Islamabad but after the terrorist attack on an Indian Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit. Noting that the Indo-Nepal relationship had seen “difficult times”, Prachanda said, “We can easily say that the difficult times could have been avoided had we seen things in more enlightened perspective and judged things better.”

“Nonetheless, good thing is that even in difficult times, we remained engaged and remained sincerely effortful to free ourselves from those intermittent irritants. We did not let such irritants undermine the strong foundation of our relations. We need to look forward, not backward,” he said.

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