Bangladesh prez to visit Nepal in November

Kathmandu, October 30

Bangladesh President Mohammad Abdul Hamid is scheduled to visit Nepal in the second week of November.

According to Bangladeshi news portal, the two sides will hold talks on Preferential Trade Agreement and BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) Motor Vehicles Agreement during Hamid’s Nepal visit due to take place from November 11 to 14.

Government sources also confirmed Hamid’s upcoming Nepal visit. They, however, said the exact date of the visit had yet to be finalised.

“Both sides have been holding preparatory talks for the visit. The date, however, has not been fixed yet,” said a source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The source added that the visit would probably take place in the second week of November.

On the sidelines of the 18th NAM Summit in Azerbaijan on October 26, Bangladesh Prime Minister Seikh Hasina had requested Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to finalise the PTA with Nepal during Hamid’s upcoming visit to Nepal, according to another Bangladeshi news portal, which quoted Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque as saying.

Both the news portals stated that Oli and Hasina had reached agreement to make the BBIN Agreement operational among the three countries, if Bhutan needed more time. Mentioning that Bangladesh had already raised the issue with India, Hasina had requested Oli for the same. The BBIN Agreement has already been ratified by Bangladesh, India and Nepal. Although the lower house of Bhutan had approved the agreement in 2016, the upper house rejected it.

Bhutan has requested for a cap to be fixed on the number of vehicles entering its territory.

Among other issues, the two sides are also expected to hold talks regarding the issues of cross-border power trade.

Bangladesh has already formulated a policy to import 9,000 MW electricity from Nepal by 2040. For this, construction of transmission line, selection of projects and cooperation on alternative energy are the major areas of concern.

Nepal and Bangladesh have also agreed to cooperate on electricity generation, development of hydroelectricity, cross-border transmission lines, development of efficient human resources in hydroelectric sector, promotion of government-to-government and private-sector investments, grid connectivity, investment in renewable energy, among others.

In the recently-concluded fourth meeting of the Nepal-Bangladesh Technical Committee, the Bangladeshi side had expressed interest in investing in nearly two dozen hydropower projects in Nepal.

Nepal and Bangladesh have agreed to jointly invest in some feasible hydropower projects.