Prime Minister Dahal returns from India

Photo Courtesy: RSS

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda has returned home after completing a four-day official visit to India.

Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi bid farewell to Prime Minister Prachanda at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on his way back to Nepal.

This is Prime Minister Prachanda’s first bilateral visit to India since assuming office in the current term.

Narayan Prakash Saud, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister of Finance, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Prakash Jwala, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ramesh Rijal, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies are part of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister during this visit.

Both Prime Ministers held wide-ranging bilateral discussions marked by traditional warmth and cordiality. During their talks, both leaders reviewed the entire spectrum of the bilateral agenda between India and Nepal covering political, economic, trade, energy, security, and developmental cooperation.

Prime Minister Prachanda also called on the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, and Vice President of India, Jagdeep Dhankar. National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval called on the Prime Minister during his stay in Delhi.

The two Prime Ministers noted the excellent cooperation between the two countries, including in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlighting the strong economic and trade partnership between the two countries, they welcomed the signing of the revised Treaty of Transit which, among others, provides access to India’s inland

Recalling the Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation of April 2022, the two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the progress made in power sector cooperation, which covers the development of generation projects, power transmission, infrastructure, and power trade.

Both Prime Ministers appreciated the growth in the export of up to 452 MW of power from Nepal to India and the progress made in the construction of the 900 MW Arun-3 hydroelectric project in Nepal.

Both sides finalized an Agreement for Long-Term Power Trade wherein it was agreed to strive to increase the quantum of export of power from Nepal to India to 10,000 MW within a timeframe of ten years and towards this end take all necessary measures to encourage mutually-beneficial investments in Nepal’s hydropower generation sector and transmission infrastructure.

Both leaders also jointly carried out the ground breaking of the 400 kV Gorakhpur-
Butwal transmission line.

The signing of the MoU for the development of 480 MW Phukot-Karnali project by NHPC and VUCL Ltd, Nepal and the Project Development Agreement for the development of 669 MW Lower Arun between Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) and the Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) was welcomed by both sides.

The Nepali side welcomed the decision of Government of India to facilitate the first
trilateral power transaction from Nepal to Bangladesh, through Indian grid with an export
of upto 40 MW of power.

Both sides expressed their commitment towards greater sub- regional cooperation, including in the energy sector, which would lead to increased inter- linkages between the economies for mutual benefit of all stakeholders.

The Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) as envisaged in the Mahakali Treaty is
in accordance with the aspirations of people of Nepal and India. In this context, it was
agreed that the concerned officials of both governments shall expedite the bilateral
discussions towards early finalization of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the PMP
within a period of three months.

The Pancheshwar Development Authority (PDA) shall submit the finalized DPR to both Governments. The two Governments and their relevant entities shall take the lead in arranging finance for the PMP.

The modalities of implementation shall be concluded within one year after approval of the DPR by the two Governments.

The two sides welcomed the construction of the Tanakpur Link Canal and agreed that water will be released from the Tanakpur Barrage to the irrigation command area of Nepal through this canal in a phase wise manner based on the readiness of the necessary facilities on the Nepali side. The technical teams of the two sides will be in touch in this regard.

Both sides welcomed the decision of the Government of India to fund Bheri Corridor,
Nijgadh-Inaruwa and Gandak Nepalgunj Transmission lines and associated substations
under Indian Line of Credit at an estimated cost of US$ 679.8 million. The two Prime Ministers appreciated the positive momentum in the development

partnership and reviewed the implementation of major ongoing projects. Prime Minister
Prachanda assured Prime Minister Modi on Government of Nepal’s full support in
facilitating time bound completion of all India assisted projects.

Giving further fillip to connectivity through creation of Integrated Check Posts (ICPs)
between India and Nepal being built under the Indian grant assistance, both leaders
inaugurated the mirror ICPs in Rupaidiha (India) and Nepalgunj (Nepal).

Both leaders also conducted the ground-breaking ceremony of the mirror ICPs in Sunauli (India) and Bhairahawa (Nepal). An MoU on the construction of another ICP in Dodhara Chandani in Nepal under Indian grant assistance was also signed during the visit.

These ICPs will help improve transportation facilities to further enhance people-to-people connectivity as well as trade, commercial and economic linkages between India and Nepal.

In a major initiative towards enhancing Rail connectivity, both leaders presided over
the inaugural run of the cross-border freight rail operations between Bathnaha (India)
and Nepal Customs Yard (Nepal) on the Jogbani-Biratnagar rail link constructed with
Indian grant assistance.

This will further enhance trade and commercial linkages between both countries through Biratnagar, a major economic hub on the eastern side of Nepal.

Further extending the Jaynagar-Kurtha passenger rail operations launched in April last year, the Kurtha-Bijalpura rail section was handed over to the Government of Nepal which will now be due for operationalization shortly.

The Final Location Survey report of the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail link was also handed
over to the Nepali side during the visit.

The Government of India also agreed to the Government of Nepal’s requests for the training and capacity building of Nepali rail officials in the Indian Railway institutes and provision of one-time grant for maintenance of the railway infrastructure for Jaynagar-Kurtha rail section that was flagged off by the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal in April last year.

On Energy connectivity, both leaders noted with satisfaction the benefits of Motihari-
Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline which was inaugurated in September 2019.

In further enhancing this cooperation, both leaders also laid the foundation stone for the Phase-II of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj Pipeline in Chitwan.

An MoU for construction of petroleum supply infrastructure by laying the new pipeline between Siliguri and Jhapa, and extending the existing oil pipeline from Amlekhgunj till Chitwan, as well as construction of two greenfield terminals at Chitwan and Jhapa, was also signed during the visit.

The two sides also decided to further enhance digital financial connectivity between
the two countries. In this regard, an MOU between NPCIL India and NCHL of Nepal for
facilitating cross-border digital payments was exchanged.

Both the Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction the understanding reached in February last year on the supply of urea and DAP from India to Nepal.

Strengthening this cooperation further, both leaders agreed to set up a fertilizer plant in Nepal with the participation of public and private sector entities from Nepal and India to meet the fertilizer needs of both Nepali and Indian farmers and with adequate assurance of market in both the countries.

The two Prime Ministers directed the concerned authorities to explore the viability of such a plant. The Government of India has also decided to build two bridges across the Mahakali River at Shirsha and Jhulaghat in Nepal connecting to Champawat and Pithoragarh
districts in India under grant .

These bridges will boost connectivity between the State of Uttrakhand in India and Sudurpaschim Province in Nepal.

With the aim of providing a renewed momentum to agriculture sector, the two sides
discussed new avenues of bilateral cooperation like nano-fertilizers and natural farming.

As part of India-Nepal cooperation in agriculture and livestock-related sectors, 15 Murrah
buffaloes are being supplied to the Government of Nepal at their request.

The Government of India has offered to create a ground station and supply 300 user
terminals to offer the services of South Asia Satellite to Nepal under grant assistance.

This initiative would promote regional cooperation in space sector, and space technology
applications in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting, tele-medicine, tele-
education, e-governance, banking and ATM services, meteorological data transmission,
disaster response and networking of academic and research institutions.

Prime Minister Modi congratulated Nepal on becoming a founding member of the
International Big Cat Alliance.

On 2 June, Prime Minister Prachanda is visiting Indore and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. His visit to these cities reflects the deep religious and cultural links between the two countries.

Nepal is one of the key partners of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. The visit of
Prime Minister of Nepal to India continues the tradition of high level visit and exchanges
between the two countries, strengthening the age old ties between the two countries.

The productive discussions held during the visit, helped to widen the understanding
between both countries and perspective on the wide range of bilateral agenda, and gave
a robust direction to take the deep rooted partnership forward.