India backs Nepal transition to multi-party democracy:FM

Kathmandu: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said that India stands by the efforts of the Nepalese people and government to logically conclude the peace process and finalise the drafting of the constitution leading to a multi-party democracy.

Nepalese people will have the choice of their rulers in the election to be followed after drafting of the new constitution and "India stands by the efforts of the people and government of Nepal to logically conclude the peace process and finalise drafting of the constitution," Mukherjee said after meeting Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

"We want that the peace process and the constitution drafting process should be finalised so that after long struggle people of Nepal have created an atmosphere where multi-party democracy can function effectively," the Indian Finance Minister who is on a day long visit to the country said.

Welcoming the imitative taken Bhattarai and the seven point agreement reached among the political parties, Mukherjee said, "We are confident that people of Nepal would be in a position through their representation of their respective political parties to come to the logical end of the peace process and drafting of a new constitution."

Under the seven-point pact, the major parties, ruling CPN-Maoists, Nepalese Congress (NC) and CPN-UML agreed to integrate up to 6,500 Maoist combatants with the country`s security forces by forming a separate directorate under Nepal Army.

Earlier, Mukherjee inked the DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) with Nepal and called on President Ram Baran Yadav and other senior political leaders and held bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Barsha Man Pun.