Kathmandu: May 12: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said all misunderstandings with Nepal are over and the bilateral ties are heading to a new high as New Delhi announced Rs 100-crore aid to develop Janakpur city. Stressing that the recent election and its outcome would be written in golden words in Nepal’s history, the Indian Prime Minister said ties between India and Nepal are special and “I am visiting at a special time”. He made the remarks after delegation-level talks with his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli.
“India stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Nepal. India-Nepal ties are above inter-governmental relations. It is more like a family,” said Modi. “I, the Indian government and the Indian people heartily felicitate the Nepali people for the progress made under federal democratic setup.”Modi held extensive discussions with his counterpart and senior government officials to better the bilateral ties that is all set to reset after New Delhi’s repeated attempt to cultivate Oli-led government in Nepal in the recent months.
Meeting Oli twice in less than two months, Modi assured him that all genuine and necessary grievances of Nepal will be addressed in a time-bound manner. In this respect, Nepal and India have reached half dozen major understandings during the two-day state visit of Modi that is expected to give momentum in bilateral ties in future. However, India remained silent on exchanging banned Indian notes parked in various financial and banking institutions and held by general people, and on Nepal’s request to add four additional air routes via India.
Modi and Oli held one-on-one and delegation-level talks where both sides agreed to resolve outstanding issues before September 19 that marks Nepal’s Constitution Day. India is ready to partner with Nepal for cross border connectivity and agreed to commence survey to link Kathmandu with the Indian Railways’ survey soon. A team of Indian experts will begin the survey for the feasibility of the rail linkages and India is also sending a team of experts to conduct feasibility survey for inland water navigation.
“We are connected with Nepal through rail, water, transmission line, petroleum pipeline,” Modi told the media. He also announced a gift of India-made indigenous radiotherapy machine for Bhaktapur-based cancer hospital. Both sides also agreed to dispatch a joint technical team to resolve the recurrent inundation problem along the Nepal-India border. Both Prime Ministers agreed on expansion on cooperation in agriculture. The first meeting of agriculture ministers from Nepal and India would be held soon to chart out a roadmap on agriculture research and development, education and organic farming.
The two leaders also agreed for an early meeting for the construction of the Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project jointly by India and Nepal. “Some of the projects have gained progress and some are in the process of achieving good progress. We have agreed to review compherensively the trade and transit treaty,” said Modi. “We are connecting through waterways, railways, roadways, transmission line and oil line, and will cooperate in areas of security and defence.”
The much-awaited 900MW run 3 Hydropower Project was inaugurated. The Investment Board Nepal (IBN) on Thursday had granted an electricity generation licence to SJVN Arun III Power Development Company to generate power from the Arun III project located in eastern Nepal.
Earlier, in the day Modi was conferred with the guard of honour at a ceremonial function at Nepal Army Pavilion. The Nepal Army cannon offered a 21-gun salute in the honour of the Indian Prime Minister. Visiting Nepal for the first time since the 2015 border blockade blamed on India crippled Nepal’s economy, Modi — calling himself a pilgrim — said his government gave top priority to relations with Kathmandu under his Neighbourhood First Policy.
He later held talks with Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari where the two leaders renewed their commitment to take their relations to new heights. The Indian leader kicked off his visit through Janakpur where he performed special prayers with his Nepali counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli at the Ram Janaki temple. Then they inaugurated the “Ramayan Circuit” to promote tourism in Nepal and India. “This will act as a foundation for strong people-to-people ties between our two countries,” Modi said. The circuit is a part of Modi’s vision to build a 650-km connectivity project.
The Indian leader described his visit as “that of a pilgrim rather than as a Prime Minister” and participated in the civic reception bestowed upon him by Janakpur Sub-Metropolitan City at the Rangabhumi Maidan. He was felicitated with a garland weighing 121 kg and a key to Janakpur city. Addressing thousands, Modi said: “Ayodhya is incomplete without Janakidham. Similarly, Nepal is incomplete without India and India is incomplete without Nepal. Our ties are religious, based of deep faith and historical and complement to each others.”
“These connectivity measures will help Nepal to get better market access, thereby encouraging the establishment of industries and employment creation.” He said the two sides can work on 5Ts — Tradition, Trade, Tourism, Technology and Transport.