New Delhi, August 24
Nepal and India today agreed to increase trade and investment between the two countries, expressing commitment that both sides would expedite efforts for the timely construction of hydropower projects in Nepal.
Addressing a joint press conference at Hyderabad House after exchanging eight memorandums of understanding, Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi said both countries were fully committed to completing the construction work of all hydropower projects being developed in Nepal on time.
Modi added that efforts would be made to finalise the detailed project report of the much-awaited Pancheshwar multi-purpose project at the earliest.
The Indian PM said Deuba had requested him to lay the foundation stone for Arun III hydropower project and expressed happiness over Nepal’s success in settling disputes at the local level.
For further enhancement of people to people relations between the two countries, Buddha and Ramayan tourism circuits could be developed for the enhancement of skills and capacity building efforts, he said.
The Indian PM also reminded that India-funded projects, such as postal roads, trans-border power transmission lines and integrated check-posts, were under construction. The two sides also theoretically agreed to build Dhangadi Technical Institute and GP Koirala National Institute of Respiratory Diseases with India’s grant assistance, said Modi.
He also highlighted the need to enhance cooperation in defence and security sector to check cross-border crime along the Indo-Nepal border.
The two countries also decided to activate a high-level joint mechanism to find a long-term solution to the problems of flooding and inundation in bordering areas. “India will provide any kind of assistance to Nepal to resolve the issue,” Modi said.
The Indian PM termed holding of two phases of local elections a great leap forward in implementing the new constitution and hoped that Nepal would be able to successfully implement the constitution by accommodating the aspirations of all sections of its diverse society. He said India always wished for sustainable peace, stability and economic prosperity in Nepal.
Deuba, on the other hand, hoped that Pancheshwar’s DPR would be completed by this year end.
According to him, both agreed that the two neighbours should enhance mutual cooperation in water resources, trade and investment.
“Nepal is not only a neighbour but also a friend of India,” Deuba said. He added that it would never allow anti-India activities along its border areas.
Both highlighted the significance of age-old bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Before addressing the press meet, Deuba and Modi inaugurated Kataiya-Kushaha and Raxaul-Parwanipur cross-border transmission lines for the supply of 50 MW each through remote operations.
During a meeting between the two prime ministers at Hyderabad House, they dwelt on connectivity, water resources management and multi-purpose projects supported by India in Nepal, according to a MoFA official.
The meeting was attended by foreign ministers, foreign secretaries and ambassadors of both the countries, he
Deuba also held talks with India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh and Minister of Finance Arjun Jaitley.
The PM also discussed issues of bilateral interest with the President of Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi and former Indian prime minister Manmmohan Singh.
Deuba also met India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, and paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.
Before wrapping up the day’s official engagements, Deuba attended an interaction organised by India Foundation in the evening.
The PM, who arrived here on a five-day state visit to India leading a 50-member delegation, will return home on August 27. He will also visit Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
A version of this article appears in print on August 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.