•      Mon Sep 25 2023

Nepal sees India’s advancement as an opportunity: PM Dahal

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has lauded India’s import of 452 MW of power from Nepal and thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for his positive response to his request for approval of the import of additional 1200 megawatts of power from Nepal including the 456 MW Upper Tamakoshi.

As per the long-term power trade agreement signed today, India will import 10,000 MW of power from Nepal in the next 10 years. “This is a major development in enhancing cooperation in this area based on the Joint Vision Statement that the two Prime Ministers issued in April 2022”, Prime Minister Dahal said.

In his statement at the Joint Press Meet between the Prime Ministers of Nepal and India in New Delhi earlier today, Prime Minister Dahal also appreciated India’s willingness to facilitate the export of hydropower from Nepal to Bangladesh through India. “We have agreed that export of up to 50 MW of power from Nepal to Bangladesh via India would commence soon and the three countries would work out an agreement to this effect soon”, he said.

It may be noted that the Project Development Agreement for the development of 669 MW Lower Arun Hydropower Project and the MoU on the development of 480 MW Phukot Karnali hydropower project was also signed between the two countries today.

Prime Minister Dahal arrived here Wednesday on a four-day official visit, at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On the occasion, Prime Minister shared that agreement has also been reached to advance the Pancheswar Multi-purpose Project by concluding the DPR within three months. “For this purpose, we have directed our respective officials to expedite bilateral discussions. The modalities of Implementation will be concluded within one year after the approval of DPR by the two governments”, he said.

Welcoming the construction of the Tanakpurlink canal and the agreement to release water from Tanakpur barrage to irrigation command area of Nepal through this canal in a phase-wise manner, Prime Minister Dahal expressed happiness to share that the vital transmission line projects under the Line of Credit-IV would commence soon.

According to Prime Minister Dahal, matters related to resolving the problem of inundation and taking appropriate measures for flood control were also discussed, while officials have been directed to hold meetings of bilateral mechanisms at the earliest to address the issues and find ways for further cooperation before the onset of monsoon.

The Prime Minister said that he requested Prime Minister Modi for non-reciprocal market access to India with more flexible and easy quarantine procedures for Nepal’s agricultural products and simplified Rules of Origin for other products. “I requested Prime Minister Modi ji to lifting of the anti-dumping duty on Nepali jute products”, he said while noting that establishment of well-equipped testing labs along the major border points and formalizing of the arrangement for mutual recognition of test certificates were also discussed.

Referring to the signing of the revised Treaty of Transit, the Prime Minister said it was also agreed to direct early convening of the Commerce Secretary level mechanism to initiate the process for review of the Treaty of Trade.

On the occasion, Prime Minister Dahal welcomed India’s positive indication of air-entry route for bilateral flights, while requesting for approval of high-altitude additional air-entry route from Mahendranagar at an early date. “We appreciate India’s approval for near-border flight operation in the Gautam Buddha international Airport in Bhairahawa, Nepal through publishing ILS procedure in the AIP to enhance safety and efficiency of flight operation”, he said.

He also shared Nepal’s interest of having regular flights from Nepal’s newly built international airports of Bhairahawa and Pokhara to and from various cities of India.

Appreciating Prime Minister Modi’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, Dahal urged Prime Minister Modi to resolve the boundary matters through the established bilateral diplomatic mechanisms. “As Nepal moves ahead on the path of graduating from LDC status by 2026, India’s continued support and goodwill remains important for us.”

Saying that he looked forward to early conclusion of MOUs on Cooperation in Agriculture and in the Field of livestock, Prime Minister Dahal thanked the government of India for the gift of improved breed of livestock and hope to receive germ plasm of major cash crops particularly sugarcane and coffee. “We also discussed about the establishment of fertilizer plant in Nepal in joint venture and we will try our best to work together for the successful completion of the project”, he added.

This is Prime Minister Dahal’s fourth visit to India as the Prime Minister of Nepal, with previous visits in September 2008, and then twice in September and October 2016.

As noted by Prime Minister Dahal, the two prime ministers made an extensive review of the progress in bilateral relations and renewed commitments to further strengthen these relations and cooperation. Ways to further strengthen cooperation in diverse areas including trade, transit, investment, hydropower development, power trade, irrigation, agriculture, connectivity including air entry routes, railways, bridges, transmission lines, expansion of petroleum pipelines, construction of Integrated Check Posts as well as cultural and people to people contacts were discussed.

“As India celebrates Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, I congratulate India for all its achievements – be it in economic growth or industrialization; infrastructure development or science and technology; poverty alleviation or expansion of social security schemes and many other fronts. Nepal sees India’s advancement as an opportunity”, he said. Nepal is happy to join India’s multilateral initiatives of the International Solar Alliance and more recently the International Big Cat Alliance.

Stating that the two leaders have agreed to maintain the momentum generated by this visit and take effective measures for the implementation of the agreements and understandings reached today and earlier, Prime Minister Dahal on the occasion said he looked forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi in Nepal soon.