PM Modi, Nepal PM Oli inaugurate bilateral development projects
08 April, 2018, 01:14 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
China expanding its strategic base in Nepal sparked concerns in India that it was losing its foothold in its immediate backyard despite its "neighbourhood first" policy.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, following his talks with PM K P Oli (who is here on his maiden trip overseas after being re-elected PM), said India would also help Nepal in the field of agriculture through organic farming, soil testing and education in farming.
New connectivity between India and Nepal through Inland Waterways. They (India and China) are also bigger than us, both in terms of size and population.
The senior government official said India would unroll the red carpet for Oli and his 53-member delegation during their three-day visit, but he would also hear about Delhi's "red lines", especially in the energy and security sectors.
Arun III is a 900-MW hydroelectric project in the Arun river, while the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project (PMP) is a bi-national hydro power project to be developed in the Mahakali river, bordering Nepal and India.
This is Oli's second visit to India as Prime Minister of the Himalayan nation.
He stated that his government attaches high importance to further strengthening friendly relations with India.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India will continue to be a "friend" of Nepal even as it will assist in its developmental plans. "A relationship that is cherished forever", he said, renewing his invitation to Modi to pay a visit to Nepal at the earliest. We have two friendly neighbours and have a very friendly relationship with both of them. On being asked about why he had chosen India over China for his maiden foreign visit after assuming the post in February, Oli added, "India invited me and so I visited India".
Oli, however, emphasised on the "principles of equality, justice and mutual respect" - a reference to the blockade that disrupted Nepal's economy in 2015 during the Madhesi agitation. The proposal is significant and comes almost two years after China in March 2016 agreed to construct a strategic railway link with Nepal through Tibet to reduce the Kathmandu's total dependence on India. "So, we both agree that we have to move ahead with the hopes and expectations of a public-centered vision, the common goals of development, and the happiness and prosperity of the people of both the countries", Modi said in the media statement after the talks. India would also undertake a pilot project on organic farming and soil health monitoring for implementation in Nepal. Geographically, we are in [the] centre between two countries.
"We have strong relations when it comes to the aspect of security and are committed towards stopping misuse of our open borders", said Modi, with Oli by his side.
During the talks with delegations from India side, which also includes the one led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Oli is most likely to discuss possible deals in waterways as well as the expansion of India-backed railway to Kathmandu.
Later, responding to a question on this, Sudhakar Dalela, Joint Secretary (north) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said India had build three transmission lines for Nepal in two years, which helped supply 350-400 MW of electricity to Nepal.
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