Beijing/Kathmandu (PTI): China and Nepal on Monday signed 12 agreements, including seven MoUs, to enhance bilateral cooperation in sectors including trade, road connectivity, and information technology after Premier Li Qiang and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" held wide-ranging talks in Beijing.

During the meeting, the two leaders comprehensively reviewed the bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction over the close and cordial ties subsisting between the two countries, according to a press release issued by the Nepal embassy in Beijing.

The two sides exchanged views on the ways to further strengthen and consolidate the mutual understanding and cooperation and give a new impetus in the front of economy, trade and people-to-people contacts, it said, two days after Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Prachanda in Hangzhou on the sidelines of the Asian Games being held in the eastern Chinese city.

Prachanda, who politically distanced from the pro-China Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) headed by KP Oli after becoming Prime Minister in December last year, made his maiden visit to China after visiting India and the US.

Following the official bilateral talks, 12 agreements were signed between the two countries, the Nepalese embassy said.

The agreements include an MoU for Cooperation between The National Planning Commission of Nepal and China's National Development and Reform Commission; an MoU on enhancing digital economy co-operation; an MoU related to cooperation on green and low-carbon development; and an MoU on cooperation in the field of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, the release said.

The two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of a Joint Technical Working Group for the review and modification of the Nepal-China trade and payment agreement.

They also signed a protocol of phytosanitary requirements for the export of plant-derived medicinal materials for Chinese medicine from Nepal to China.

China and Nepal also signed MoUs on the Hilsa-Simkot Road Project and the Nepal-China Power Grid Interconnection Project (Chilime-Kerung).

The other agreements include cooperation in the fields of science, technology and innovation; and in the field of Human Resources Development, the release said.

Prachanda also met with National People's Congress Chairman Zhao Leji during which they focused on further broadening the historical ties between Nepal and China and promoting exchange of high-level visits, it said.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Prachanda met Chinese President Xi.

"Had a fruitful meeting with Xi Jinping, President of PR China. We exchanged views on a range of issues of bilateral relations and cooperation in our mutual interests. We agreed to collaborate closely and advance Nepal-China relations to strengthen ever-lasting friendship," Prachanda said in a post on platform X after the meeting.

Prachanda has directly flown to China from New York, where he addressed the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations.

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New Delhi, Dec 11: The Centre on Monday defended the change in the National Medical Commission's logo to feature Dhanwantari -- the physicians of the Gods in Hindu mythology -- instead of a secular emblem, saying it was part of India's heritage and everyone must feel proud of it.

When the TMC's Santanu Sen raised the issue of the change in the logo through a Zero Hour mention in the Rajya Sabha, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said Dhanwantari is a symbol of Indian medical science.

"(It was) already a part of the (Commission's) logo and just some colour has been added and nothing more," he said.

"This is India's heritage. I feel we should feel proud (about it)," he added.

The minister said the logo is designed by taking inspiration from the country's heritage.

"This is a symbol of medical science ... someone who had done so much research in medical science. We have used the photo with no other intention."

The Medical Council of India (MCI) logo was adopted in 1934 after the Indian Medical Council Act, 1933, was enacted.

The law defined medicine as "modern scientific medicine and includes surgery and obstetrics" and the logo used was based on the international symbol for medicine -- the staff of Aesclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.

The logo also featured a snake wound around the staff.

While there has been no official announcement of a change in the Commission's logo, a black and white logo with the depiction of Dhanwantari at the centre reportedly appeared in December 2022. The colourised version appeared a couple of months later.

Raising the issue through a Zero Hour mention, Sen demanded the restoration of the National Medical Commission's previous logo.

He said the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956 was repealed in 2020 despite objections from different corners of society and the medical fraternity.

"The National Medical Commission came into force from 25th September 2020, repealing the 64-year-old Indian Medical Council Act, 1956," he added.

Earlier it was termed as "western medicine", then it became "medicine" and finally it was termed as "modern medicine", Sen said and added that the logo of modern medicine is the staff of Aesclepius.

"And there was no need and there was no permissible condition, so far as the National Medical Commission is concerned, that this logo can be changed. But, unfortunately, we have seen in the recent past, I don't know (if it is) because of government instruction or by the National Medical Commission itself, they have changed the logo and they have brought a photograph of Dhanwantari in the logo," Sen said.

The "change of logo was absolutely not needed. It symbolises one particular religion," he added.

The National Medical Commission, he said, regulates medical curriculum and sanctions new medical colleges.

"Its function is not to promote any particular religion. Even the Ayush department did not change its logo but the National Medical Commission has," the TMC MP said.

"It is against the basic oath which doctors take after passing MBBS. They take the oath that we will treat each and every patient irrespective of their caste, creed or religion. We are not bound to treat one particular religion," he said.

The change of logo, he said, was against the basic essence of the Indian Constitution which, through Article 25 and 26 after the 42nd Amendment in 1976, states that India is a secular country.

"And we should promote the dovetailing of religion," Sen said and demanded that the National Medical Commission immediately restore the previous logo that did not symbolise any particular religion.