Nepal to Welcome 2 Million Tourists in 2020-Ambassador Sewa Lamsal Adhikari-Draft of Speech @ Food Festival Islamabad

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03 April 2019
His Excellency Mr. Tehmina Janjua, Foreign Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Honourable Ministers and Members of the Parliament

H.E. Mr. Sirtaj Aziz Former Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs
Excellencies,
Mr.Maurizio Romani, General Manager of Marriott Hotel
Friends from media,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen

Namaste, Assalamwalekum and Good Evening!
It is my profound privilege to welcome all of you to this Nepalese Food Festival event in Islamabad to celebrate the 60th year of Nepal-Pakistan bilateral relations.

On behalf of the Embassy of Nepal, and on my own, I warmly welcome all of you and extend my profound gratitude for giving us your valuable time.

We have amongst us Her Excellency Ms. Tehmina Janjua, the Foreign Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as our Chief Guest. I request you all to welcome Her Excellency with a big round of applause for not only being our chief guest tonight but also for her outstanding accomplishments as the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, and in particular, being the first woman Foreign Secretary of the country.

I extend my sincere gratitude to you Madame for your continued support to the Embassy of Nepal and your contribution to strengthen Nepal-Pakistan bilateral
relations during your tenure. I have always seen your work with high respect and tried to enlighten myself from your professional acumen. I wish you a happy and productive retired life ahead.

I welcome the famous Kutumba Band from Nepal, a known icon of traditional Nepali instrumental music. I am particularly thankful to the Kutumba team for accepting the Embassy’s invitation and travelling a long journey from Nepal to make this event possible. I am eager to see your outstanding performances and wish all of you a pleasant and memorable stay in Pakistan.

I also thank to Islamabad Marriott Hotel for sponsoring our events and hosting us all tonight. I am particularly grateful to Mr. Maurizio Romani, General Manager of the Islamabad Marriot Hotel and his team for their hard work.

It will not be fair if I don’t express my words of appreciation to the Nepal Embassy team, in particular DCM Mr. Paras Pandit for his tireless efforts, day and night, without which this event would not have been possible. I thank you team Nepal, keep up the spirit, and save your energy for other events as well!

Excellencies,
I have enjoyed varieties of food and warm hospitality in Pakistan. In many events, I was asked by host about Nepali food. I tried to explain some food items to them, but it was very difficult for me to make them understand fully.

Those curious people inspired me to organize this event. Let me confess that it is impossible to bring all tastes and flavors of Nepali food as we have varieties of food depending on the cultures, ethnicity, location and region. However, we have
tried to bring some of the common items in Pakistan. I am delighted to inform you that to prepare the authentic Nepalese food for this event, an experienced chef from Nepal has already arrived in town.

After this event in Islamabad, the Embassy of Nepal is hosting a similar event in Karachi and Lahore as well. Today’s event and other upcoming events are our humble efforts to enhance people to people contacts.

Distinguished Delegates,
Since this is on the onset of Nepal-Pakistan bilateral relations, allow me to briefly touch upon our bilateral relations. On 20 March 1960, Nepal and Pakistan established diplomatic relations. Pakistan is the 20th country in the comity of nations with whom Nepal has established diplomatic relations.

Our relations are based on eternal friendship, utmost goodwill and sovereign equality. Nepal highly values Pakistan’s understanding in Nepal’s political development and its unconditional support to Nepal. We share common views in many international and regional forums including, the UN, NAM, G77 and SAARC.

The foundation of our relations can be linked to the formation of the Himalayas itself. The roots of our civilization dates back to the birth of Gautam Buddha, an epitome of peace, and the founder of the Gandhara civilization. The connection of Mount Everest and K2, as well as Lumbini and Taxila are the living testimonies of our friendship.

These geographical, historical, and cultural links have been further nurtured by the leaderships of both countries. The visit of the then Prime Minister, His Excellency Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, as the first foreign dignitary of the incumbent
government of Nepal as well as visits of the Chief of Army Staff from both countries in 2018 remained fundamental in cementing bilateral ties. Furthermore, frequencies of visiting delegates from both sides including, politicians, academicians, senior officials, diplomats, researchers, journalists, as well as sports teams have increased over the years.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is the beginning of a celebration. I am hopeful for the meetings of bilateral mechanisms and high level visits in the days ahead. Let me share with you that Nepal attaches top priority to promote tourism, among others. We are celebrating Visit Nepal Year 2020 and have set a target to welcome two million tourists in the country.In this context, I extend my cordial invitation to all of you to visit Nepal. I assure you that you will enjoy your stay in Nepal, which is a well-known paradise for tourists since ancient time.

I look forward to work with all stakeholders in Pakistan who are interested to promote tourism in Nepal. There are many areas where we can collaborate. For example, the Sherpas of Nepal, who are known for their professionalism in
mountaineering, have been contributing to promote bilateral tourism.

Recently, we have seen Mr. Sandeep Lamichhane’s cricket matches, who became once man of the match in recently held Pakistan Super League. There is a huge potential for collaboration between the music fraternities of both countries. In my view, these are very powerful elements to enhance people to people relations.

The Embassy of Nepal looks forward to promoting sports, arts and cultures, as well as exchange programmes with the support of concerned stakeholders. It may be a little out of context, but I also take this opportunity to extend my sincere gratitude to the delegates of participating countries and our development partners for their participation and commitment during the Nepal Investment Summit held in
Kathmandu last week.

Last but not the least, I am thankful to my friends from the media, for giving Nepal a priority in broadcasting their news and views and highlighting our bilateral relations in a positive manner.

Finally,
I feel truly privileged to be a part of this celebration in such a commemorating year. With the passage of time, our friendship has become more matured and stronger. I congratulate both countries for this enduring friendship.
Finally, I hope to see continued peace, progress and prosperity in Pakistan and wish all the best for Naya Pakistan. I thank you all once again.

Enjoy the evening with delicious Nepali food and music.
Long live Nepal-Pakistan friendship.

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