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Nepal occupies special place in Indo-Pacific region: US

twitter-logoPTI | December 19, 2018 | Updated 22:32 IST

By Lalit K Jha Washington, Dec 19 (PTI) Nepal occupies a special place in the Indo-Pacific region and must remain stable and prosperous, the Trump administration has said, asserting that America has a "profound stake" in the success of the Himalayan nation. Alice Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia said the two countries can work together to effectively tackle shared challenges and bolster their ties. "The United States has a profound stake in the success of your country. Nepal occupies a special place in an Indo-Pacific region that is, and must remain, stable, free, open, and prosperous," she said on Tuesday. "By working more closely together, we can effectively tackle shared challenges and bolster linkages across the region for the benefit of all," Wells said in her remarks at a dinner reception for the visiting Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali. Earlier in the day, Gyawali had a successful meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during which they reaffirmed their strong respective commitments to the US-Nepal partnership. "They discussed new ways to advance our mutual interests through closer cooperation. This historic meeting opened a new chapter in the story of our friendship," Wells said. America's commitment to Nepal has been steadfast for over seven decades, she said. "We stood alongside the people of Nepal on their journey toward democracy, and the American people have made possible decades of support for Nepal's economic development. Today, we continue to stand by Nepal in support of economic reforms that will increase living standards, attract US investment, and lead to enduring prosperity," Wells said. She said the proposed USD 500 million 'Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact' will expand Nepal's electricity infrastructure and improve its road networks. "Underpinning the partnership between our two governments, of course, is the affection and goodwill our citizens have for one another. Our people-to-people ties have never been stronger," she said. This past year, Nepal was the South Asian country with the largest increase in students choosing to pursue their higher studies in the United States. With a 14 per cent increase from the previous year, there are now over 13,000 Nepalis enrolled in US higher education institutions, she said at the reception. The American people also have an abiding admiration for Nepal's extraordinary cultural heritage as demonstrated by the contribution of nearly USD 3.5 million to preserve important Nepali landmarks through the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation, Wells said. PTI LKJ MRJ MRJ

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