Nepal Democracy Solidarity Group
Hon. Mr. D. P. Tripathi, President of Nepal Democracy Solidarity Group and
Leader of the Nationalist Congress Party,
Hon. Members of Parliament,
Dear senior political leaders
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to attend the program hosted by the Nepal Democracy Solidarity Group. People in Nepal deeply appreciate the moral support extended by the Group in the establishment of Democracy, Civil liberties and republican order in our country. Let me take this opportunity to pay our tributes to late Mr. Harkissan Singh Surjeet who first led this Group and played an important role in giving positive momentum to our struggle. I also thank CPI leader AB Bardan.
You all know that Nepal is currently going through a very important phase in its modern history. We are now in transition to a post conflict phase from a decade long internal conflict. It was possible because we all agreed that in today’s world, arms conflict will not solve any problem. So in Nepal too we chose the path of peace and cooperation and decided not to allow the language of guns to prevail. All the political parties of Nepal, including the Maoist party, have decided to agree on the future course that Nepal has to take through the interim constitution. That common understanding for beginning a new era in our political, economic and social fields brought all of us together. In November 2006, the Government of Nepal and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) signed a Comprehensive Peace Accord finally bringing the decade-long armed conflict to an end.
You all know that in April 2008, Nepalese people voted for the Constituent Assembly. For the first time in the history of Nepal, the people got the opportunity to frame the Constitution themselves through their elected representatives. Elections to our Constituent Assembly were held under a mixed proportional representation system. That ensured that our Assembly is the most inclusive represented body. All marginalized groups are present in the Assembly and one third of its members are women. The first meeting of the Assembly declared Nepal a Federal Democratic Republic, and subsequently elected the first President and the First Vice President of Nepal.
Today the Constituent Assembly is busy writing the new constitution for the country. May I also inform you all that an extensive nation-wide consultation had recently been undertaken whereby our people gave direct inputs to the members of the Constituent Assembly. This exercise has further ensured the broadest possible participation of our people in the constitution drafting process.
The task before us is formidable. Nevertheless, when we look back to the last three years following the popular movement in Nepal which made the current changes possible, we have come a long way. But we know that we still have a longer way to go. We have to make substantial progress in institutionalizing peace and putting on ground the fundamentals of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal that is consistent with the popular aspirations of the Nepalese people. We hope to accomplish the task of making a new constitution within the stipulated time period.
In writing the new constitution, we all have agreed that the state in Nepal needs restructuring along federal principles that are most suitable to our own needs and circumstances. This restructuring is necessary in order to ensure mainstreaming of all marginalized groups. Similarly, Nepal is firmly committed to the principles of democracy such as multiparty competition, free, fair and periodic elections, individual liberty, freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression, human rights and the rule of law. Having undergone several political upheavals, the nation has now fully embraced the fundamental principles of democracy, not only in building a just society, but also in creating a conducive environment for economic development and lasting peace and stability. Here, may I submit to my friends, notwithstanding their historic significance, the new constitution and restructuring of the state are of fundamental importance to ensure peace, stability and progress in Nepal on a sustainable basis. Therefore my priority is to take forward the peace process to a positive conclusion with support, cooperation and unity among all the political parties. We have to do it together with all. And the constitution writing exercise should be completed within the stipulated time. The government and people in Nepal do not expect the transition to be long and difficult. People want to get over with the peace process as early as possible so that they can really concentrate on consolidating democracy, stability and progress.
We are delighted to note that the path of the home-grown peace process that we are charting today in Nepal has received wide support and cooperation from India and the international community. We thank all our international partners for the support and understanding. I believe that any political transformation is meaningful only when it is accompanied by economic and social transformation for the better. We have accorded high importance to the task of speedy and inclusive economic development. Here I would like to thank the people and the government of India for their support for our peace process and for building development infrastructure in Nepal over the decades. I hope that this cooperation will be scaled up and further strengthened in the days ahead in tune with current expectations and aspirations of the people of Nepal. We are all aware that in today’s globalised world, for any nation, peace and stability in the neighborhood are essential.
Nepal and India are very close friends. Our relationship is deeply rooted in our shared social and cultural values, strong ties of people to people relations. This long tradition of friendship has established enduring bonds of mutual empathy, respect and cooperation. We have been working towards further consolidation of this relationship while adhering to the basic principles of mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of each other. The history of our relationship, the sweeping changes in Nepal, unlimited opportunity in making all round progress in our relationship and ever growing status and progress of India have created a convergence which augurs well for beginning a new era in our relationship. More specifically, the profound transformation that Nepal is going through and the economic progress of historic proportion that India itself is realizing now call for a vigorous promotion of our relationship to a higher plane with built in dynamism and vision. This is only consistent with the new realities of our time and the wider hopes and aspirations of our people. That is precisely the purpose of my visit here and it is with this vision that I would like to take the relationship to a new height with greater understanding, higher level of trust and comprehensive partnership in all possible fields. This will make peace, stability and prosperity a reality and sustainable in Nepal in the years to come.
I would like to thank you for your patient hearing and now I would like to open the floor for your views and interactions.
Address by Rt. Hon. Prime Minister to the Nepal Democracy Solidarity Group
New Delhi, August 2009