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India offers $250 mn soft loan to Nepal

New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) Besides signing four pacts during the visit of the Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav, India has offered $250 million line of credit and the supply of thousands of tonnes of foodgrains to the Himalayan republic.

Nepal’s first President, who is on a four-day state visit, met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Hyderabad House at noon Tuesday, where they held delegation-level talks for about 50 minutes.

This is the first ever visit of the Nepalese President since his election in 2008, when he replaced Nepal’s royal dynasty as the head of state.

The talks were followed by signing of four agreements – to set up new railway links, an updated air services accord, an India-sponsored polytechnic and construction of a new convention hall near the India-Nepal border.

During the talks, India offered Nepal a soft line of credit worth $250 million through the Exim Bank. Besides, the Indian prime minister also offered to supply 50,000 tonnes of wheat, 20,000 tonnes of rice and 10,000 tonnes of yellow peas. Besides, India could also provide an additional 2,000 tonnes of wheat, if required by the Nepalese government.

According to sources, Singh told the visiting Nepalese leader that he was honoured by the visit and underlined the special relationship between the two South Asian neighbours.

India also hoped that the peace process and the drafting of the constitution is completed on schedule by the May 20 deadline. Prime Minister Singh said that India was ready to offer any assistance for concluding the process.

The Nepalese President Yadav expressed gratitude for India’s help in the economic development of his country.

After talks and signing of agreements, Manmohan Singh hosted a working lunch for Yadav at Hyderabad House.

The Nepal president, who arrived Monday, began his day with a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhawan, where he was received by his host, Indian President Pratibha Patil.

After going to Rajghat to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Yadav met with the External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna in his suite at Taj Mahal hotel.

Yadav also met several other Indian leaders, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj.

President Patil hosted a state banquet in honour of the visiting Nepali leader Tuesday evening.

Yadav will travel to Haridwar Wednesday to take part in the Maha Kumbh Mela.

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