Kathmandu, January 21 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has vowed to prioritise the expansion of Nepal-India cross-border connectivity to ensure simplified trade and movement of people between the two nations. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Modi today jointly inaugurated the Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar through a video conference, whereby Modi said operation of the new ICP would ensure simplified trade and movement of people between Nepal and India.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Indian PM Narendra Modi taking part in a video conference on Tuesday, January 21, 2020. Photo courtesy: PMO, India
“The two nations have inaugurated two major bilateral projects in the last five months -- a symbol of enhanced Nepal-India relationship. Connectivity plays a catalytic role for the development of the entire region,” said Modi, adding, “India will support Nepal’s development based on its priority.” Stating that the two governments are working on the construction of different Nepal-India connectivity projects related to roads, rails and transmission lines, Modi said India would help Nepal develop more of such modern facilities in the coming years. Meanwhile, the Indian prime minister also said his visit to Nepal would be a part of his programme for 2020. Oli said the operationalisation of ICP in Biratnagar with customs, immigration and other facilities under one roof would facilitate bilateral trade and transport movement. “Timely completion of such bilateral development projects has added momentum to Nepal-India relationship,” he said, urging India to collaborate and cooperate to make Nepal prosperous. Meanwhile, the prime ministers also watched a video of the progress made in post-earthquake reconstruction of 50,000 private houses in Gorkha and Nuwakot districts of Nepal. Earlier, India and Nepal had agreed to build ICPs along both sides of the border to facilitate two-way trade and movement of people. ICP in Birgunj was inaugurated in April 2018 with an aim of facilitating and improving Nepal’s two-way trade with India and third countries. The work on the newly built ICP Biratnagar started in December 2016 and was completed in October 2019. It was built at a cost of Rs 2.24 billion by the Indian government. The ICP puts in place systematically planned, properly interconnected and efficiently managed border check-posts at the authorised Jogbani-Biratnagar border crossing point between the two countries. It is expected to facilitate movement of traffic and enhance trade between the two countries. The ICP has integrated three main border related functions — customs, immigration and border security — and facilitates movement of both passenger and freight between the two countries. The ICP in Biratnagar is equipped with modern facilities such as warehousing, including refrigerated cargo, electronic weighbridges, 100 per cent power backup, fire safety, dedicated communication network and monitoring through CCTV and public announcement systems. Adequate facilities for quarantine, amenities for drivers, passengers and security personnel have also been set up, along with a waste water treatment plant and large-scale landscaping and tree plantation to conserve and enhance the environment. READ ALSO: