PM Visit A Milestone


The recent four-day state visit of India by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has been a milestone for strengthening Nepal-India bilateral cooperation and enhancing the neighbourly bond that is based on intimacy, friendship and goodwill. The visit has made an extensive review of the progress in relations between the two neighbours and renewed commitments to further strengthening these relations and cooperation. The high-level state visit has made a special headway on the front of economic cooperation with the signing of major agreements on power trade, connectivity, petroleum pipeline installation and launching of inter-state electronic payment system. Under the significant power trade deal, India has agreed to purchase 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal for the coming ten years. This is a highly desirable agreement for Nepal which has a vast potential of hydropower generation and the nation is producing surplus electricity. 

In this context, the deal is a milestone for the benefit of both the nations. Nepal is producing more hydropower than it needs for domestic consumption and it is looking for a viable market for power export. Building good electricity transmission infrastructure is very important. During the visit of the Prime Minister, the Butwal-Gorakhpur power transmission line considered an important power trade infrastructure, has been inaugurated. Prime Minister Prachanda and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi had cordial talks on the bilateral cooperation and made pledge to boost the ties by working together on various projects that deliver mutual benefits. 

The two Prime Ministers signed a seven-point agreements to boost cooperation in a range of areas including extension of cross-border petroleum pipeline, development of integrated check post and boosting cooperation in hydroelectric power. Among them was a key pact signed to revise India-Nepal treaty of transit. A transit agreement which helps Nepal for trade via India’s inland waterways, and other connectivity agreements, including railways, were signed during the visit. India has also agreed to offer access to its airspace for Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Gautam Buddha International Airport. A deal was also made under which India will build bridges in Sirsiya and Jhulaghat of Nepal. These connectivity projects will play an important role in Nepal’s development process.

Prime Minister Prachanda has prioritised formalising agreements with the main focus on development and economic cooperation. Foreign affairs experts and commentators have viewed that Prachanda’s visit has ‘changed the pattern’. With the key political transformation taking place in Nepal after the changes of Second People’s Movement, the focus is on development and prosperity. In this regard, economic cooperation can create a win-win situation for both the neighbours. At the winding up of the visit, Prime Minister Prachanda has said that the four-day official visit was fully successful as it has added a new milestone towards Nepal’s economic development. He termed the power trade agreement with India as a breakthrough. 

Though political and border-related issues were not high on agenda this time, Prime Minister Prachanda told journalists on Friday that he had raised the issue of Kalapani during the meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi, and both had agreed to find a solution to the protracted problem through negotiations. Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Modi said that India and Nepal will strive for taking their relationship to newer heights and resolve the boundary issues in an amicable way. In order to further strengthen bilateral relations, both the nations should maintain a new spirit of goodwill and closeness generated by the visit and take effective measures for the implementation of the agreements made during the recent visit and earlier ones. 

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