Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a rare gesture, received Girija Prasad Koirala and his 43-member high-level delegation at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi today afternoon. Koirala's is the first Nepali delegation to be welcomed by the prime minister at the airport.
According to Himalkhabar.com, prior to his departure from Kathmandu, Koirala said he was embarking on a goodwill visit and hoped it would be successful. "I am very hopeful about the visit," he told reporters at the Tribhuban International Airport.
Koirala is scheduled to hold talks with President APJ Abdul Kalam, PM Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and other top officials. He is accompanied by Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, Local Development Minister Rajendra Pandey, Minister for Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha, Agriculture Minister Mahanta Thakur, State Minister for Women and Social Welfare Urmila Aryal. Other officials in the delegation also include acting Foreign Secretary Pradip Khatiwada, Industry and Commerce Secretary Bharat Thapa, a team led by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries and 13 journalists.
The visit will focus on economic assistance to Nepal, according to Finance Ministry officials. India has already announced to extend a special economic package to Nepal. Koirala is expected to request a development-aid worth Nepali Rs 75 billion for the next five years. He is also expected to ask India\'s continued support in peace making and reconstruction.
This is Koirala's first official foreign visit since being appointed as the prime minister of Nepal in April.