India’s sole priority economic development, says envoy Rae

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Ambassador: India spends heavily on border security and fighting terror. So relations with neighbours are priority

Jan 11, 2017-Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae has said a peaceful and stable neighbourhood is crucial to achieving economic development goals.

Underscoring India’s sole priority for eliminating poverty by rapidly accelerating economic growth, Rae said it was necessary in a globalised world to be aware of what is happening across the globe--including in the neighbouring countries.

Addressing an interaction on Contemporary Political Economy of Nepal-India relations, organised by the Foreign Affairs Study Society in the Capital on Tuesday, Rae urged Nepalis to be educated on the economic progress happening in India and China.

“We are the fastest growing economy in the world and target double digit growth soon. To achieve such goals, we are increasing foreign direct investment and have initiated campaigns such as ‘Make in India’,” said Rae.

Stating that India’s foreign policy was driven by the prospects of economic growth, he said it is essential to have peace and stability in the  country and the region. He stressed the need to end instability to achieve such goals.

“Since 1991, luckily all our political parties in India are united on the need for rapid economic development. Though we have some domestic security issues, we are working on them,” Rae added. He gave the example of Pakistan, for which India has had to spend a hefty amount of resources to protect the borders and fight terrorism. “That is why relations with neighbours are our priority.”

Nepal is a special country for us. The two countries share a unique relationship with an open border, Rae said, reiterating that India would always want peace, stability and prosperity in Nepal.

He said India always supported Nepalis’ aspirations for prosperity and change. “From the Janaandolans to ending the Maoist insurgency, we have supported whatever people here have decided,” he added. “If you may remember, at one point we had a strong two-pillar policy of multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy for Nepal. But when the people wanted a republic, we were fully behind their decision.”

Claiming that poverty and instability in Nepal would naturally affect India, Rae urged the country to tap its rich resources and potential to achieve rapid growth. He particularly mentioned hydropower and tourism with tremendous prospects. Rae also said India was working to generate 7,000 megawatt electricity in Nepal by investing about $10 billion.

Leaders from various political parties also shared their views on the occasion.

Published: 11-01-2017 08:39

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