PM Modi’s visit strengthens ties with Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Nepal over may 11-12 at the invitation of the Nepal’s Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, marking the second bilateral summit between the leaders this year

May 12, 2018

The two Prime Ministers held successful delegation level talks, the platform for which has been set up by growing bilateral interactions between the nations in trade to people-to-people exchanges

PM Oli visited New Delhi last month, during when the countries agreed to maintain the momentum created by such visits through improved ties in the fields of agriculture, railway and inland waterways

The leaders emphasised the need for regular convening of bilateral mechanisms, including Nepal-India Joint Commission at Foreign/External Affairs Ministers level, to review the state of bilateral relations

During the visit, the leaders laid the foundation stone of 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal and launched the Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit with a direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Nepal over May 11-12 has further strengthened relations with the northern neighbour and strategic partner nation. The visit, at the invitation of Nepal’s Prime MInister K P Sharma Oli, marked the second bilateral summit between the leaders this years. The two Prime Ministers held successful delegation level talks, the platform for which has been set up by growing bilateral interactions between the nations in trade to people-to-people exchanges. PM Oli had visited New Delhi last month, during when the countries agreed to maintain the momentum generated by such visits by taking effective measures for the implementation of the agreements and understandings reached in the past that covered the fields of agriculture, railway and inland waterways development.

Improved cooperation and connectivity will help the nations maximise gain from their resources. While reviewing the close and multifaceted relations between the two countries at different levels, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their resolve to work together to take bilateral relations to newer heights by strengthening ongoing cooperation in diverse spheres as well as expanding partnership for socio-economic development. The two Prime Ministers emphasised the need for regular convening of bilateral mechanisms, including Nepal-India Joint Commission at Foreign/External Affairs Ministers level, to review the overall state of bilateral relations, and for expeditious implementation of the economic and development cooperation projects. The leaders underscored the importance of trade and economic ties.

India and Nepal have recently sought to address bilateral trade deficits through the recently held Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation. The meeting was aimed at controlling unauthorized trade as well as facilitating Nepal’s access to the Indian market, thus enhancing overall bilateral trade. To improve interactions, both sides have also focussed on enhancing the economic and physical connectivity by air, land, and water. This will aid bilateral trade, most of which happens through roadways, as well as cooperation in developing water resources, including river training works, inundation and flood management and irrigation. During the latest visit, the leaders laid the foundation stone of 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal which will boost cooperation in power sector.

PM Modi’s latest visit to Nepal, his third as the PM, also saw the launch of Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit connecting Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, with Ayodhya and other sites associated with the epic Ramayana. In Janakpur, the two Prime Ministers flagged off the inaugural direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya. Promotion of cultural heritage and soft powers have proven highly successful in cementing bilateral ties as well as ties at multilateral platforms such as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN). Bilateral trade between India and Nepal stood at around US$6 billion in 2016-17.