Nepal, India plan to ink deals during PM's visit

Story by  IANS | Posted by  Tripti Nath | Date 27-05-2023
Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal
Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal


Kathmandu (Nepal)

During Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal's upcoming visit to India, the two neighbouring countries are planning to sign a series of agreements, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu said on Saturday.
According to the Ministry, Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, will embark on a four-day trip on May 31. This is his first official foreign visit since assuming office in December last year.
In a statement, the Ministry said Dahal's visit is on the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Prachanda will be accompanied by his daughter Ganga Dahal and various other dignitaries and high-ranking officers.
After delegation-level talks between Prachanda and Modi on June 1, a series of agreements and memorandums of understanding will be signed, according to Nepalese officials.  
During the visit, the Nepalese side will seek an air entry route via Indian territory for the utilization of its two newly built international airports in Pokhara and Bhairawha, said Haribol Gajurel, the chief political adviser to Prachanda.
In an interview with the local media, Gajurel said that the two sides will also discuss the bilateral energy trade, and execution of the much-delayed Pancheshowr Multipurpose Project which was signed in 1996 but there will be no concrete progress in seeking the solution of the bilateral boundary dispute.
The issue of boundary dispute cannot reach a conclusion in this visit, said Gajurel, which is a bit complex issue.
Nepal and India have a boundary dispute in the Uttarakhand area of India which falls in the Darchula district of Nepal. In response to the Indian political map published in 2019, the Nepal government in May 2020 released a new map incorporating Kalapani, Lipu Lekh, and Limpiyadhura inside its map which is currently occupied by India.
"The boundary dispute will not be concluded this time. This is a bit complex issue. Nepal and India have serious differences over a boundary dispute. This dispute should resolve in a positive way. Once we settle and resolve other outstanding issues, then we can move towards resolving the boundary dispute in a correct way," said Gajurel.
Nepalese officials said that during the visit, some crucial agreements related to cross-border energy cooperation and trade will be reached. 
Agreement on digital payment between Nepal and India, the construction of a dry port in the Chadani-Dodhara area in Nepal, the inauguration of the integrated check posts in Nepalgunj, and setting a new integrated check post in Bhairawaha are part of the agreement. 
Likewise, the inauguration of a rail yard in Biratnagar that comes from Jogbini, India; construction and expansion of the two petroleum pipelines; allowing the broadcast of the Nepal Television in India, energy trading between Nepal and Bangladesh via India, agreement on electricity trading between two state-owned agencies for another 25 years so that both sides do not need to seek approval time and again, are also list in the agreement. 
The construction of Lower Arun and Phukot Karnali by the Indian developers, cross border transmission line, and providing chemical fertilizer to Nepal among others will be signed during the visit.
The issue of boundary dispute will be figured during the bilateral talks between Prachanda and Modi but that will not dominate the entire talks, he added, we have not reached to any conclusion yet on the boundary issue so our focus is on settling down the other issues first.
During the visit, Dahal will also address the Nepal-India Business Summit in New Delhi, to be jointly organized by the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the ministry said.
According to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Dahal will also make courtesy calls on President Droupadi Murmu and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar. 
"In addition to the official engagements, Prime Minister Dahal will also be visiting Ujjain and Indore as part of his visit," the release from the Indian side reads.
This is Prime Minister Dahal's fourth visit to India in his three terms as the country's premier.
The visit is expected to further strengthen the age-old, multifaceted, and cordial relations between Nepal and India.