New Delhi– Declaring Nepal as a safe investment destination following the formation of a stable government, Prime Minister K.P. Oli on Friday invited Indian investment to participate in the development process of the Himalayan nation.

As part of efforts to attract foreign investment, the Investment Board of Nepal, chaired by Oli, is going to shortly hold a global investors summit in Kathmandu that is being jointly organised with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and which will be attended by Indian Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu, officials said here at the CII-organised India-Nepal Business Forum with Oli participating.

“Nepal is now safe for foreign investment. Any attempt to disrupt law and order will be dealt strongly,” said Oli, who arrived here on Friday on a three-day visit — his first foreign trip after he returned to power in February for a second time.

“Indian investors have invested across the globe, so why not Nepal… because in terms of geographical access and cultural similarity (with India) it is all there in Nepal,” he said.

“Nepal will need massive investment, many of its sectors are virgin territory for investment. I invite Indian companies to come and invest in Nepal,” he added.

A 54-member high-level delegation is accompanying Oli, including a number of ministers, while officials here said that both governments are currently discussing the creation of an India-Nepal Joint Business Forum.

Noting that his government enjoys three-fourths majority in Nepal’s lower house of Parliament allowing for “stability and continuity in policy”, Oli said: “My Government is committed to a liberal economy and liberal economic policies with the private sector as a key partner.

“We have no intention to reverse this trend,” he added.

Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal, accounting for about 40 per cent of total approved foreign direct investments (FDI) and are working in the manufacturing, services, power and tourism sectors. Some large Indian investors include ITC, Dabur, Hindustan Unilever, MTNL, State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Life Insurance Corp and Asian Paints.

In 2016-17, Nepal imported $6.1 billion worth of goods and services from India and exported only a little more than $400 million worth, making for a trade deficit of over $5.7 billion.

Nepal hopes to correct this trade imbalance by attracting more Indian FDI into the country. (IANS)