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Salman Khurshid in Nepal on day-long visit

July 09, 2013 11:59 IST

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid arrived in Kathmandu on Tuesday on a day-long visit to Nepal, aimed at further strengthening India's ties with its northern neighbour.

"Our relations with Nepal are very important and the relations will continue to be, a matter of the highest priority for India," Khurshid said after landing at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

"India is strongly committed to working with the people of Nepal for a democratic, stable, peaceful and prosperous Nepal," he told reporters at the airport.

Khurshid is leading a nine-member delegation at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Madhav Prasad Ghimire. His pre-scheduled two-day visit was earlier cut short. He will be returning to New Delhi on Tuesday evening.

He will exchange views on the further development of bilateral relations and other issues of mutual interest with his Nepalese counterpart Ghimire and other important leaders.

Khurshid will call on President Rambaran Yadav and Chairman of the Council of Ministers and the head of the interim government Khil Raj Regmi, during his visit.

"I will convey to them the greetings and best wishes of our leadership and the people of India and will use the opportunity to review progress in our multi-faceted bilateral partnership," he said.

"We all wish to the people of Nepal for the forthcoming election, which is the next important step for consolidating democracy," he said.

"We are looking forward to a free and fair election leading to strengthen democracy and consequential prosperity to move forward," he added.

The visit is of high importance as it is taking place when Nepal is passing through a transitional period with the long-delayed Constituent Assembly elections due to be held on November 19, political observers say.

Nepal had plunged into a political and constitutional crisis after the constituent assembly was dissolved without promulgating the constitution last year and the fresh elections to be held in November, 2012, did not take place, pushing the country into a political deadlock.

S M Krishna was the last external affairs minister to visit Nepal. He paid a visit to the Himalayan nation in April 2011.

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