Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that people to people linkages between India and Nepal are so powerful that people in the government only complement these.
Delivering a distinguished lecture at a program organized by Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDA) in Kathmandu, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla laid out the foundational multi-dimensional strength of the ties between the two countries and the vision for taking it forward.
“The people-to-people linkages are so strong and so powerful that quite frankly we in government only complement these,” he said while addressing a limited gathering of leading civil society members on India-Nepal relations at an event hosted by AIDIA.Link
According to him, the relations between the two neighbors rest on four pillars - development cooperation, stronger connectivity, expanded infrastructure and economic projects, and easier and enhanced access to educational opportunities in India for the young people of Nepal.
Dr. Madan K Bhattarai, Former foreign Secretary, delivered opening remarks. Similarly, the chairperson of AIDA Sunil KC delivered opening remarks thanking foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla for addressing the lecture program.
“Given our genetic profiles, what works for India is likely to work for Nepal as well. Together we will recover from the pandemic and together we will protect our people,” he said. Later in the afternoon on Friday, Shringla inaugurated Tashop (Tare) Gompa Monastery in Manang district which was renovated with Indian assistance.
Likewise, he also inaugurated three school buildings in the Gorkha district jointly with the Secretary of the National Reconstruction Authority Ram Krishna Sapkota.
The schools rebuilt with Indian support are Ratna Laxmi Secondary School, Mahalaxmi Secondary School and Tara Secondary School in Gorkha Municipality-8, 9 and 10.
In the afternoon, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla traveled to Gorkha and inaugurated three schools constructed with Indian reconstruction assistance viz. Shree Mahalaxmi, Shree Ratnalaxmi and Shree Tara Secondary Schools, in the presence of Mr. Ram Krishna Sapkota, Secretary, National Reconstruction Authority of Nepal.
There are about 1600 students in these three schools who now have the advantage of the newly constructed earthquake resilient school buildings. These schools are part of 71 educational institutes across nine districts being built under the Government of India grant assistance of US $ 50 million for reconstruction in the education sector. The nine beneficiary districts are Gorkha, Nuwakot, Sindhupalchowk, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Kavrepalanchowk, Dhading and Kathmandu.
Speaking on the occasion, Foreign Secretary emphasized that education is the best investment in the future of the country and its people. Since 2003, the Government of India has built nearly 270 educational campuses across Nepal under the High Impact Community Development Projects scheme, complementing the efforts of the Government of Nepal in this area. Shri Shringla encouraged Nepali students to take advantage of over 3000 scholarships being provided by the Government of India to contribute in the development of their country and to further strengthen the India-Nepal partnership.
As part of its post-earthquake assistance to Nepal, the Government of India has substantially fulfilled its commitment in the housing sector with over 46,500 houses handed over to beneficiaries in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts. India is also working with the Government of Nepal on the reconstruction of 147 health posts and hospitals in ten districts of Nepal under a grant of the US $ 50 million and 28 cultural heritage sites in 8 districts of Nepal under another grant of US $ 50 million.
In his last engagement before leaving Nepal that also signifies the diverse bilateral development and cultural cooperation, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla virtually inaugurated the Tashop (Tare) Gompa monastery constructed at Shree Kharka village in Manang district. The event was attended by Yadav Prasad Koirala, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal and Rev. Acharya Lama Norbu Sherpa, President of Nepal Buddhist Federation along with the representatives of Khangsar Sewa Samiti.
Foreign Secretary conveyed his pleasure at the Government of India's role in restoring this ancient monastery in the Manang district and in contributing to the preservation of the rich Buddhist heritage of this Himalayan region. The restoration of the Monastery was taken up as a High Impact Community Development Project under grant assistance at the request of the local Khangsar village and authorities.
After completing his two-day official visit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla returned back to New Delhi in the late afternoon on Friday.