Modi holds talks with Nepal PM, reviews ties

The Final Location Survey report of the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail link was also handed over to the Nepali side during Prachanda’s visit…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a telephonic conversation with Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ and reviewed various aspects of the India-Nepal bilateral cooperation, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Both leaders followed-up on discussions held during Prime Minister Prachand’s recent visit to India from May 31 to June 3, 2023, the PMO said.

During Prachanda’s visit, six projects were inaugurated and they included handing over of the Kurtha-Bijalpur railway line; operation of the cargo railway between Jogbani in India and Biratnagar in Nepal; laying the foundation of Bhairahawa-Sunauli integrated check post; inauguration of Nepalgunj-Rupaidiha integrated check post; foundation of the second phase of Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline construction and the Butwal-Gorakhpur 400 KV trans-border transmission line.

The Final Location Survey report of the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail link was also handed over to the Nepali side during Prachanda’s visit.

India had also agreed to Nepal’s requests for the training and capacity building of Nepali rail officials in the Indian Railway institutes and provision of a one-time grant for maintenance of the railway infrastructure for Jayanagar-Kurtha rail section that was flagged off by the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal in April 2022.

Besides, seven agreements were signed between the two countries during the Nepal Prime Minister’s visit and these agreements included Nepal-India Transit Treaty; an MoU regarding the construction of petroleum infrastructure; an MoU relating to the Dodhara-Chandani Integrated Check Post and Dry Port; an MoU regarding Fukot-Karnali 480 MW hydropower project development; 669 MW Lower Arun Hydropower Development Project Agreement; an MoU relating to trans-national electronic payment between National Clearing House Ltd, Nepal and National Payment Company Ltd, India and MoU between Foreign Affairs Study Academy of Nepal and Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service, India.

India also decided to fund Bheri Corridor, Nijgadh-Inaruwa and Gandak-Nepalgunj transmission lines and associated sub-stations under Line of Credit of $679.8 million.

Prachanda’s visit to India was the 6th Prime Ministerial level visit from Nepal since the promulgation of the Constitution in the Himalayan country in September 2015.

In terms of quantity and quality, the visit was the most successful on several counts. First, the highest numbers of infrastructure and physical connectivity projects were remotely inaugurated by both Prime Ministers, and seven documents were exchanged on infrastructure, transit trade, digital connectivity, and energy cooperation.

Second, for the first time in the India-Nepal hydroelectricity trade, the Prime Minister of India stated that “India aims to increase the quantum of hydropower imports from Nepal to India to 10,000 MW in the next 10 years.”

Third, India agreed to facilitate the first trilateral power transaction from Nepal to Bangladesh via India for up to 40 MW of power, which was a long pending demand of these countries.

Four, the just-revised Treaty of Transit would enhance the faster, smoother, and more effective third-country trade of Nepal by access to inland waterways of India for the first time.

Fifth, India has assured to strengthen multi-sectoral connectivity projects under the ‘HIT formula’ and resolve the air-connectivity issues.

And lastly, most importantly, both leaders expressed their sincere effort toward resolving the border demarcation and border disputes through dialogue by the designated mechanisms.

Nepal, a close and friendly neighbour, is a key partner in India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

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