Kathmandu: Nepal will act as a "friendship bridge" between India and China rather than just being a "buffer state" between the two giant neighbours, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Friday.

57-year-old Bhattarai, who belongs to the Maoist party, stated this while addressing Parliament for the first time after assuming the top post.

"Nepal will no longer regard itself as a buffer state between India and China," the Prime Minister said.

This country will act as a "friendship bridge between India and China," he said, ahead of his departure to New York to attend the UN General Assembly's annual session on September 18.

Bhattarai said his government "is committed to performing its three major tasks: taking the peace process to the logical end within three months, preparing the draft of the new Constitution and providing relief to the poor people."

For this "I will seek cooperation from all the political parties," the Prime Minister said.

"All the political parties should move ahead in unison to conclude the peace process and timely drafting of the statute."

Bhattarai said his government has unveiled an 11-point "Immediate Relief Programme, 2011" for the backward, minority communities and conflict-victims, among others.

"If we cannot move ahead by forging consensus to rescue the country from the present transitional period we cannot save ourselves from a political catastrophe," he warned.

"There is a need to forge cooperation and collaboration among all the forces" as reactionary and revisionary elements are raising their heads, Bhattarai said.

He said "the government is declaring Year 2012 as the Year for Investment with a view to attracting more foreign investments in the country."

The government is hosting an international investment conference very soon to attract foreign investment, he said, adding both national and international investors will be encouraged to invest in Nepal.

"The government will announce special package to provide security to foreign investors," Bhattarai said.

The Prime Minister said that on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, he would meet representatives of various donor countries and agencies, seeking an increase in the flow of foreign aid and investment.

(Agencies)