Kathmandu, Aug 21: The fifth meeting of the Nepal–India Joint Commission concluded this night with the signatures from both sides on the minutes of bilateral partnership and cooperation.
The minutes were signed by the co-chairs of the fifth meeting of the Joint Commission- Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, and Indian Minister for External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
A press statement issued by the Foreign Ministry after the meeting said both sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations with specific focus on the areas of connectivity and economic partnership; trade and transit; power and water resources sectors; culture, and education.
The Joint Commission expressed happiness over the momentum generated in the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations following the exchange of high-level visits in the past two years.
Views were exchanged on the review of Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 and submission of report of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR).
Matters related to cooperation in international, regional and sub- regional fora were also discussed.
Similarly, the Joint Commission expressed happiness at the progress made in the bilateral projects, such as Motihari- Amlekhgunj Petroleum Products Pipeline, four segments of Hulaki Roads, and post-earthquake reconstruction of private housing in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts which have been completed.
They expressed happiness over progress made in Jayanagar-Janakpur and Jogbani-Biratnagar sections of cross-border railway projects and Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar.
The Joint Commission agreed to expedite the early completion of remaining agreed projects.
It also expressed satisfaction over the progress in three new areas agreed during the visit of Prime Minister Oli to India in April 2018, namely, Raxaul-Kathmandu Electrified Rail Line, Inland Waterways and New Partnership in Agriculture.
Both sides agreed to an early conclusion of the review of treaties and agreements related to the trade, transit and rail services.
They also agreed to continue upgradation and maintenance of infrastructure and logistic facilities at major border crossing-points for facilitating trade and transit between the two countries.
Noting that inundation is a serious problem for people living in border areas, the Joint Commission underlined the need for addressing inundation issues due to, among other things, the inadequate drainage provision that obstructs the natural flow of water in border areas.
Both sides agreed to take action on the recommendations made by a joint team comprising officials from both sides who had visited twice the inundation prone areas along Nepal-India border and continue monitoring of the inundation prone areas.
The two Ministers emphasized the importance of tourism in socio-economic development and agreed to enhance their cooperation in tourism sector, particularly in the context of Visit Nepal Year 2020.
On Nepal’s request for additional air entry routes to Nepal, it was stated that discussion which were underway between the civil aviation authorities of the two countries would yield positive results.
Moreover, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Food Safety and Standards between Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) of Nepal and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was signed and exchanged in the presence of the two Ministers.
During the meeting, two cheques for Terai Roads Project and Post-earthquake Reconstruction Project were also handed over by Ambassador of India to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, to CEO at the National Reconstruction Authority, Sushil Gyawali, and Secretary at Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Devendra Regmi, respectively.
In a brief remark after the meeting, Minister Gyawali viewed that the meeting was fruitful.
Nepal is interested in continuing bilateral collaboration and cooperation remaining in close contact with India, he added.
Similarly, Indian Minister for External Affairs, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, observed, “The minutes are roadmap to take forward our relations. The mutual relations would be further progressive.”
The Indian Minister Jaishankar, who had arrived in Kathmandu earlier on Wednesday paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. He is scheduled to pay a courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari tomorrow morning.
Foreign Minister Gyawali hosted a dinner in honour of the Indian Minister for External Affairs and the members of his delegation.
The External Affairs Minister is scheduled to depart for New Delhi tomorrow.