India to improve rail, road links with Nepal

Daniel Fowler
April 8, 2018

China's Three Gorges Corporation has been given a second dam project to build in Nepal, while India's GMR and SJVN will build two projects. "A feeling of understanding, cooperation and mutual trust is necessary". Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale called these three new areas - railways, waterways and agriculture - as new "game changing" areas of cooperation.

"As far as our relationship is concerned, we have a close and unique relationship with Nepal, but the efforts of both the leaders at today's meeting was to have a forward looking approach and see how we can deepen and strengthen this relationship", he said. We want to create a model relationship, which makes not only us but our posterity equally proud of our accomplishment.

To a question as to why he chose to visit India first before China after taking over as prime minister in February, Oli said, "India invited me and so I visited India".

On whether Oli brought up the demonetisation drive during his discussions, since Nepal has about Rs 950 crore of the old Indian notes in its coffers, Gokhale said the matter did not come up. "Being close neighbours, our destiny is intertwined". "Prosperity is our common goal".

India pledged on Saturday (Apr 7) to expand rail links to Nepal's capital Kathmandu and develop inland waterways in the landlocked Himalayan nation, which has also benefited from extensive China-backed infrastructure investment in recent years.

Both sides also chose to develop the inland waterways for the movement of cargo, within the framework of trade and transit arrangements, providing additional access to sea for Nepal. Another popular subject that did not figure in the bilateral talks was demonetisation.

Modi had on Friday met the Nepalese prime minister at the Prime Minister's official residence in Delhi.

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"PM Oli's vision of "prosperous Nepal and developed Nepal" is compatible to sabka sath, sabka vikas".

The Nepalese PM said friendship was more important than signing agreements.

Modi hailed successful conduct of polls in Nepal and congratulated both the people of Nepal and the government for entering into "a new era of political history".

"Enhanced connectivity will definitely contribute to our desire to be a land-linked country instead of land-locked", Oli said in Delhi following talks with Modi.

"I have come to India with a mission to enhance our relations to newer heights commensurate with the realities of the 21st Century". Gokhale said Modi is expected to visit Kathmandu this year.

In a landmark decision, India will assist Nepal in developing inland waterway on its rivers that will connect with Indian waterways and provide Nepal additional access to sea. He said his country accorded "great importance" to its ties with India as the neighbours have a lot "to offer each other". "This is based on mutual respect".

The two leaders also witnessed the ground breaking ceremony of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj cross-border petroleum products pipeline at Motihari, India.

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