Nepal and India discussed matters pertaining to bilateral and mutual interests during the Foreign Secretary-level talks in New Delhi.
At the invitation of his Indian counterpart Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Nepal's Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Poudyal arrived in New Delhi and held the bilateral talks at Hyderabad House on Tuesday where the two sides discussed a wide range of issues and issues related to mutual interest and concerns, according to statements issued by New Delhi and Kathmandu.
The Foreign Secretaries discussed multiple areas of cooperation between Nepal and India covering trade, transit, connectivity, infrastructure, power sector, irrigation and inundation, agriculture, investment, development cooperation, health sector cooperation, culture, and people-to-people relations, among others, a statement issued by the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi said.
"They reviewed the progress on the discussions held during the high-level visits of the Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba to India on April 1-3 and of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to Lumbini, Nepal on May 16. The two Foreign Secretaries discussed the ways and means to build on the momentum generated by those visits. They also discussed cooperation on multilateral forums," the statement added.
Kwatra and Poudyal also expressed satisfaction with the progress made in different areas including the power sector, construction of transmission lines, railway connectivity, construction of ICPs, motorable bridges, and other important infrastructures.
They also discussed the early conclusion of the Transit Treaty including its Protocol and the Memorandum to the Protocol and expediting the review of the Treaty of Trade, said the statement issued by the Nepali side.
Matters related to fertilizers supply, and waiver of export restrictions in wheat, sugar, paddy, and rice were on the agenda as well.
Nepal is expecting to receive fertilizer from India on an annual basis and is seeking the waiver of some essential items that India has banned exporting following the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Recalling the outcome of high-level visits, both sides discussed seamless power trade under the mutually beneficial arrangement, the statement issued by the Nepali side said, the two Foreign Secretaries also discussed the boundary matters.
In this regard, they exchanged views on completing the boundary works on the remaining segments through established bilateral mechanisms, the Nepali statement added.
Similarly, according to the Indian statement, two Foreign Secretaries reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation between India and Nepal, including economic and commercial cooperation, enhancing connectivity, development cooperation, trade, culture, and people-people relations.
"Recent progress in bilateral cooperation in the power sector including through export of power from Nepal to India was appreciated. It was also agreed that both sides will work to further strengthen such cooperation in keeping with the Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation adopted during the visit of the Prime Minister of Nepal to India in April 2022. Both sides welcomed the recent signing of the MoUs between NHPC, India and IBN, Nepal on the development of West Seti and SR-6 projects," said the statement.
During the meeting, in terms of connectivity projects, the progress made in the operationalization of the Kurta-Bijalpura segment of Jayanagar-Bardibas rail link and Bathnaha-Nepal Custom Yard segment of Jogbani-Biratnagar rail link, which are significant steps in further strengthening the people-people links, was noted with satisfaction.
"The Nepali side appreciated the Covid-19 assistance provided by India during the pandemic and also thanked the Indian side for keeping the supply lines of trade open, even during the peak of the lockdown," said a statement issued by India's Ministry of External Affairs.
To further strengthen people-people links, both sides agreed to expeditiously progress on project proposals for the Ramayana Circuit, said the ministry.
Both sides also agreed to expeditiously implement the extension of the petroleum pipeline from Amlekhgunj to Chitwan and the construction of an LPG pipeline from Motihari to Chitwan, the Indian statement added.
Poudyal is scheduled to call on External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Wednesday. (KB/IANS)