Pakistan, Nepal agree to enhance cooperation in key sectors

Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli on Monday agreed to enhance cooperation in the key areas of economy, culture and defence respectively.

The former said that Pakistan welcomed the completion of the democratic process in Nepal and wished for an era of a durable peace in the Himalayan country.

The Pakistan Prime Minister also backed Nepal’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity as a matter of prime importance, according to The Dawn.

Abbasi said that he was pleased to see the flourishing of Nepal’s democratic process and stated that political stability was a key to attaining economic development in any country.

He added that Nepal and Pakistan shared good relations for decades and agreed that there was a huge scope in collaboration in the fields of culture, education, tourism and sports respectively.

Both sides discussed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as an important platform for exploring cooperation among regional countries in the interest of the people.

SAARC, initiated in 1985, aims to promote development of economic and regional integration among the eight member countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The two leaders stressed the need for activating the Pakistan-Nepal Joint Economic Commission and the Joint Business Council to increase bilateral trade. It was also agreed to strengthen people-to-people contacts.

Later, Abbasi and Oli held delegation-level talks as well, which was attended by Pakistani delegates and Nepalese cabinet members.

Abbasi also called on the SAARC Secretary General Amjad B. Sial and reiterated that SAARC was an important forum, which requires sincere and serious efforts by the member countries to explore its true potential. He further said that Islamabad was committed to playing a constructive role in SAARC.

Sial, who belongs to Pakistan’s Foreign Service, was appointed the new secretary general of SAARC last year.

Earlier, the Pakistan Prime Minister was accorded a guard of honour at Nepal’s Army Pavilion in Tundikhel, when he arrived in Kathmandu on a two-day official visit and was welcomed by Oli.

The two leaders were escorted by Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff General Rajendra Chhetri to the saluting dais. (ANI)