Modi welcomes Nepalis’ faith in Oli’s vision

KATHMANDU: Visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said his third visit to Nepal as India’s prime minister made it clear how deep was his and his government’s commitment to Nepal and Nepal-India relations.

Thanking his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli and the government and the people of Nepal for extending such a grand welcome, Modi said Nepal-India relations stood on the foundation of deep familial, friendly and people-to-people ties.

He said the successful holding of the local, provincial and parliamentary elections in Nepal was historic.

“Nepali people have expressed faith in PM Oli’s leadership and vision for economic and social progress. I heartily welcome Nepali people’s decision for development and nation building within the federal democratic framework. India completely supports all Nepali people’s aspirations for a unified, prosperous and robust Nepal,” he said, addressing a joint press briefing following the bilateral delegation-level talks.

He said his government’s slogan of ‘Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas’ and Oli’s slogan of ‘Sambriddha Nepal Sukhi Nepali’ complemented each other.

Modi also expressed commitment to do his best to ensure that Nepal was no more land-locked but land-linked and water-linked.

Oli, on the other hand, said Modi’s Nepal visit gave ‘fresh impetus’ to bilateral cooperation and partnership.

Reiterating the firm commitment to take bilateral relations forward on the basis of equality, mutual trust, respect and benefits, Oli said neighbourhood constituted top priority in Nepal’s foreign policy.

The Indian PM arrived in Nepal on a two-day state visit today. After visiting Janakpur in the morning, Modi landed in Kathmandu this afternoon. Bilateral delegation-level talks took place this evening following a ceremonial reception at Tundikhel and meetings with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Vice-president Nanda Bahadur Pun.

Before the joint press briefing, the two PMs also remotely laid the foundation stone of 900MW Arun-III hydropower project.

During the bilateral delegation-level talks, the two sides agreed to take effective measures for the implementation of all agreements and understandings reached in the past, and take concrete measures to realise benefits of new partnership for agriculture and connectivity by rail links and inland waterways.

During Oli’s visit to New Delhi last month, the two sides had announced agreements on Kathmandu-Raxaul railway, inland waterways and partnership on farm modernisation.

On the agriculture front, the two sides agreed that agriculture ministers of the two countries would meet soon to finalise priority areas and develop a work plan for implementation.

Nepal and India also reached an understanding on early finalisation of the DPR of Pancheshwor multi-purpose project.

On the chronic problem of inundation in the Tarai region, the two sides agreed to immediately send a joint team to inundation-prone areas to take appropriate measures to address the problem.

As far as trade and transit and Nepal’s huge trade deficit with India is concerned, the two PMs ‘took note’ of the commerce secretary level meeting held last month to jointly initiate a comprehensive review of all the existing trade, transit and rail services, treaties and agreements.

The Nepali side also requested India to facilitate exchange of demonetised Indian currency notes held in the Nepali banking system by general public at the earliest.

The two governments will carry out preparatory survey work at the earliest and finalise the implementation and funding modalities for the India-funded electrified railway. The Nepali side also demanded four additional air entry routes to ease air traffic from India.

Tomorrow, Modi will visit Muktinath in the morning. After returning from Muktinath, he will offer prayers at Pashupatinath temple and meet political leaders. He will attend a civic reception organised by Kathmandu Metropolitan City before leaving for India.