India gives Rs 3.74 billion, signs MoU on food safety

Kathmandu, August 21

Nepal and India signed one agreement, while India handed over cheques amounting to around Rs 3.74 billion for two projects, during the fifth Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting that concluded here today.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who co-chair the commission, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on food safety between the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control of Nepal and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

On the occasion, the Indian government also handed over a cheque of Rs 2.45 billion towards reimbursement to the Nepal government for post-earthquake housing reconstruction in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts. Similarly, the Indian government also handed over another cheque worth INR 807.1 million (Rs 1.29 billion) to Nepal towards strengthening road infrastructure in the Tarai region of Nepal.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over the cheques to National Reconstruction Authority CEO Sushil Gyawali and Secretary of Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Devendra Regmi.

The two foreign ministers witnessed the handing over of the cheques.

During the meeting, both sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations with specific focus on the areas of connectivity and economic partnership; trade and transit; power and water resources sectors; culture and education, according to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Joint Commission expressed happiness over the momentum generated by the exchange of high-level visits in the past two years. “Views were exchanged on the review of Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 and submission of report of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations,” read the press release.

Matters related to cooperation in international, regional and sub-regional fora were also discussed.

The Joint Commission also underlined the need to address inundation issues due to, among other things, inadequate drainage provision that obstructs natural flow of water in border areas. The Joint Commission agreed to act on recommendations made by a joint team comprising officials from both sides, the release stated.

After the conclusion of the meeting, Indian Minister Jaishankar said on Twitter, “Comprehensively reviewed our bilateral relations and identified priority areas for cooperation [in the meeting].” Following the meeting, Gyawali hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Indian minister.

Jaishankar, the first high-level Indian leader visiting Nepal after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office for a second term, arrived in Kathmandu from Dhaka at around 12:00pm today. He was received at Tribhuvan International Airport by Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi and Nepal’s Ambassador to India Nilambar Acharya. He is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at around 10:30 am tomorrow and leave for New Delhi at around 3:15 pm.