KATHMANDU — Ahead of his visit to India one month from now, Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Sunday invited Indian businessmen to invest in the Himalayan nation, saying it had lost a lot due to the agitation in the Terai region and that all steps will be taken to create an investor-friendly environment.
Interacting with a group of visiting Indian journalists here, Oli said Nepal had lost revenue and income due to the more than four-month-old Madhesi agitation in the southern Terai plains of the country.
“I request the business community of India to come here. Of course, due to the unrest in the Terai, we lost a lot… not billions but trillions of rupees. We lost income, revenue… No industry is earning now but we will immediately create an investment-friendly situation,” Oli promised.
The southern plains have been simmering with protests against the new Constitution for more than four months now. Over 55 people, including agitators and police personnel, have been killed during the agitation by the Madhesi community.
The Madhesi protestors are demanding, among other things, a redrawing of the boundaries of the provinces as proposed in the new Constitution and representation in parliament on the basis of population.
Nepal’s Left government has held more than a score of rounds of talks with leaders of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation, but without any breakthrough so far.
Oli said Nepal and India can work together for shared prosperity for entire South Asia.
“We want to work together with India not only for Nepal but for South Asia. We want to make a developed south Asia because this is a very rich and beautiful part of the world. We can develop it. In this 21st century, we can reach the height of modernisation,” he said.
Oli said South Asia had a “huge population” and there were no apprehensions about existence of market for business ventures.
“But we have to develop our feeling in that way… So that we can work together and enjoy better future together. I will like to invite the business community to work together for better future of Nepal, India and South Asia,” he said.
“Nepal is committed and honestly wants to create an investment-friendly atmosphere,” he said.
According to data from the Indian embassy here, Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal, accounting for about 38.3 percent of Nepal’s total approved foreign direct investment.
There are about 150 operating Indian ventures in Nepal engaged in manufacturing and services that include banking, insurance, education and telecom besides power and tourism sectors.
Bilateral trade, which was 29.8 percent of Nepal’s total external trade in 1995-96, reached 66 percent in 2013-14. Exports from Nepal to India were worth $605 million in 2013-14 and India’s exports to Nepal were $4.81 billion-worth during the same fiscal.
Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister — and Foreign Minister — Kamal Thapa had earlier this month announced that Oli will in February embark on his first foreign visit post-assumption of office to India.
2018 to be marked as high-level visit year : Minister Gyawali
KATHMANDU — Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradip Gyawali has said that the year 2018 would be made the high-level visit year to solicit assistance for economic development.
Minister Gyawali, at an interaction programme in the capital city today, said that the high-level visit would be helpful to collect assistance for Nepal’s development and prosperity.
“Homework to invite Indian PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping would begin very soon. Chinese President Xi Jinping was invited in 2016 but his visit could not happen due to change in government. This time, high-level visits from the USA, the UK, Japan and other countries would be arranged,” Minister Gyawali said.
He also added that the visit from Prime Minister of Pakistan held last month increased goodwill and was concentrated on holding the stalled SAARC Summit.
On the occasion, the Foreign Affairs Minister said that truce in Syria should be held as the children are falling victims to the war.
He also pledged to work to increase Nepal’s access to UN adding that our approach is not established in comparison to Nepal’s contribution to peace keeping mission. Minister Gyawali reiterated his commitment to not allow Nepal’s soil to be used against any nation.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said that Nepal’s relations with China and India would be based on our necessity instead of an alternative to one another.Follow @gorkhapost