April 21, 2018

India, Nepal to build trust; announce joint initiatives in key areas

08 April 2018, 01:16 | Marta Robbins

New railway line to link Kathmandu with India soon, says PM Narendra Modi

PM Modi holds talks with Nepal PM KP Oli to deepen bilateral ties

Nepal's PM is on a three-day visit on the invitation of PM Narendra Modi.

According to a joint statement, the two prime ministers resolved to work together to take bilateral relations to newer heights on the basis of "equality, mutual trust, respect and benefit". "I have assured Prime Minister Oli that this will continue in future".

Any treaty any agreement, everything starts from friendship.

Oli, who had publicly criticised New Delhi for interfering in Nepal's internal matters and accused it of toppling his government, after his sweeping poll victory said his party would forge a partnership with India to move forward the country towards the path of economic prosperity. "Regular exchanges of visits at the highest political level between the two countries demonstrate the priority that we attach to our special partnership", the President said in a statement.

"We are firm in our resolve to maintain this position and it is natural that we expect a similar assurance from India", Oli said.

After the delegation-level talks, Modi said India will always stand by Nepal in its quest for all-around growth, asserting that deeper cooperation between the two neighbours will strengthen democracy in Nepal.

The plan to develop inland waterways would give landlocked Nepal much-needed access to sea, boosting its exports.

So when Modi and Oli push a button in New Delhi, that virtually lays the foundation stone of the $1.5 billion, 900 MW Arun III hydro-electric project in the Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal, the Prime Minister's message of cooperation with Nepal will have a strategic caveat to it.

Prince Charles supports republic: Keating
The Prince of Wales will be in the country from 4 to 10 April and will open the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on Thursday. Prince Charles will then tour northern parts of the Sunshine State, before heading to the Northern Territory.

Apart from the main joint statement, both sides also issued three separate joint statements India-Nepal: New Partnership in Agriculture, Expanding Rail Linkages: Connecting Raxaul in India to Kathmandu in Nepal and New Connectivity between India and Nepal through Inland Waterways.

India's ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, underlined the importance of the proposed rail and river link, saying it would remove the feeling among Nepalese about being land-locked.

This will enable cost effective and efficient movement of cargo and greatly impact the growth of business and economy of Nepal.

The Nepalese prime minister said he also shared with Modi Nepal's concerns about the alarming scale of trade deficit and stressed on the need of implementing measures to expand Nepal's export.

Gokhale insisted China's growing footprint in Nepal was not discussed as the talks were focused on the bilateral relationship with some reference to regional issues, with Oli flagging the stalled Saarc process and the BBIN (Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal) initiative for vehicular movement across the subcontinent. "We both agree to prevent the abuse of our open border, and to pursue our shared security interests", Modi said.

The visiting Prime Minister said that Nepal wants to play friendly neighbourly relations, neighbourly policy but for his country friendship with India is most important. We have developed our friendship according to time with a goal to eradicate poverty, improve life standards.

Modi had on met Oli at the Prime Minister's official residence in the national capital.

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