Dahal, Modi discuss producing mineral water from Everest

Kathmandu, September 8

Former prime minister and Co-chair of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today discussed cooperation between Nepal and India in producing pure mineral water from Mount Everest.

According to sources close to Dahal, the leaders discussed issues of mutual interest, including global warming, water scarcity and melting of glaciers before floating the idea of tapping drinking water from the 8,848 metres high Mount Everest.

They also discussed collaboration for harnessing Nepal’s hydropower potential, development of waterways from Nepal to India, railway connectivity from different points of the border, establishment of agro-based industries in Nepal and development of tourism. According to Dahal’s secretariat, the two leaders also reviewed exchange of high-level visits, particularly the visits of the prime ministers of both countries. They also reviewed the outcomes of the BIMSTEC summit, which recently concluded in Nepal.

Dahal sought Indian help to establish a polytechnic institute in Kaski district, which had been agreed upon when Dahal was the PM.  Dahal’s secretariat said both leaders committed to take bilateral relations to a new height during their one-hour long meeting. Dahal told Modi he wanted robust economic partnership with India.

Dahal and Modi also discussed development of broader religious circuit between both countries to promote religious tourism.  Both leaders also forged understanding on upgrading customs offices on the border and resolving border issues. The source, however, did not say what specific border issues figured in their meeting.

www.narendramodi.in posted a message after the Dahal-Modi meeting, saying both leaders fondly recalled their previous interactions. “Recalling his two visits to Nepal this year, Modi said that India-Nepal relations had received a boost with frequent high-level interactions,” the website added.  Modi thanked Dahal for his valuable contribution to strengthening India-Nepal relations. The two leaders discussed progress in Nepal-India relations as well as other issues of mutual interest said Modi’s secretariat.

Dahal separately met Indian Minister of External Affairs SushmaSwaraj and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi today. Sources said Dahal and Swaraj discussed issues of NCP (NCP)’s unity and aspects of bilateral issues after formation of the NCP (NCP) government.

In his meeting with former Indian PM Manmohan Singh, Dahal thanked him for the understanding reached during Singh’s premiership and his help in settling the issues of the peace process. Singh expressed satisfaction over elections held after the promulgation of the constitution and Nepal’s focus on development. Singh said his party, the Indian National Congress, would always help promote bilateral relations with Nepal.

Dahal had left for New Delhi on Thursday and is returning to Kathmandu tomorrow.