|SPEECH BY SHRI K.R. NARAYANAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS CROWN PRINCE DIPENDR BIR BIKRAM SHAH DEV
SEPTEMBER 1, 1994
Your Royal Highness Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev, His royal Highness Prince Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have great pleasure to extend a warm and hearty welcome, on behalf of the Government and the people of India, to His royal Highness Prince Dipendra, the Crown Prince of Nepal, on the occasion of his visit to India. I have also great pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness, Prince Gyanendra and other distinguished members of the Nepalese delegation. Prince Dipendra has visited our country more than once in the past, but this is his first official visit to India and we feel very much honoured by it.
India and Nepal are two countries joined in friendship by geography and history and bound over centuries by silken ties of religion and culture. Thus Indo-Nepal relations have been traditionall friendly and particularly close. These relations hae flourished at people-to-people level as well as at the high level of the Royalty that has guided the destiny of the people of Nepal. Today the two levels have merged with the dawn of democracy in Nepal and the steady advancement of democracy in India. We have been, Your Royal Highness, watching with great interest the smooth trasition to democracy that has taken place in Nepal and the guidance given to this process by His Majesty the Kind who is “the symbol of the Nepalese nation and the unity of the Nepalese people”.
In the wake of the end of the cold war both our countries, like the rest of the world, are undergoing rapid and significant changes. What has been called the process of liberalisation is sweeping our age-old economies opening up new prospects for development and co-operation in our region and in the world. In this new context the traditional economic co-operation between India and Nepal could be expanded on the basis of equalit and mutual benefit. There is also the opportunity to add a new dimension to it in the form of scientific and technological co-operation. India is in a position to put into its co-operation programme a new dynamic element of technology that is advanced and relevant to the development of Nepal. I am therefore happy that Your Royal Highness would be visiting some of our industrial and scientific establishments.
Indo-Nepalese relations have today a regional dimension. Through our co-operation we can make a contribution is strengthening and instilling vitality into the new adventure of SAARC that South Asia has embarked upon. We appreciate very much the contructive role that Nepal, under the leadership of His Majesty King Birendra, is playing building up regional co-operation in South Asia. In this new era of economic grouping in the world it is necessary that SAARC is built up into an effective regional body. It is only in this way that this rich and ancient sub-continent can develop its immense potential and each country in it rise up to its full stature. I believe that India and Nepal have role to play in this. Years ago Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said India was interested in two things “the independence of Nepal and its progress” because “they are of advantage to India.” Today we believe that the independence and progress of every country in South Asia is to our advantage and we are determined to work towards that goal.
We believe, Your Royal Highness, that India and Nepal working together for our common good and engaging themselves in maximum possible co-operation would be a positive factor for regional and international co-operation. It has been heartening to us that during recent years our relations have reached a new level of understanding. Prime Minister shri Narasimha Rao’s visit to Nepal in October 1992 and His Majesty King Birendra’s visit to India in May 1993 have brought us closer in a relationship that is contructive and mutually beneficial. I am confident that the current visit of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Dipendra will bestow upon this happy relationship a new glow of youth and a bright promise for the future.
May I request you, ladies and gentlemen, to join me in a toast to the health of His Majesty, Kind Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev to the health of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Dipendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev to the happiness and well-being of the people of Nepal to the eternal bonds of friendship between out two countries and peoples