Three months after they last met in Kathmandu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepal counterpart Sushil Koirala will, on Tuesday, witness the signing of a slew of agreements they had discussed to increase road and rail ties between the two countries.
The agreements will include project development agreement and power trading agreement for the 900MW Upper Karnali hydro electric power project that could not be completed in time for Mr. Modi’s visit in August. On Monday night, the Nepali Cabinet also cleared the agreement for another 900mw hydel project, called Arun-III, to be signed with India’s Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam
The $1-billion line of credit announced by India in August will also be actualised, with a full detail of projects that it will be used for in Nepal. India is also likely to announce the setting up of a police training academy. In addition, the two countries will sign MoUs on traditional medicine and youth exchanges. The two Prime Ministers will meet a day ahead of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit, and will clear bilateral versions of the agreements to be signed there, to facilitate motor vehicle access and for railway links.
The Prime Minister’s plans to distribute bicycles in the temple town of Janakpur have now been cancelled. But he will be distributing several ‘gifts’ as soon as he lands in Kathmandu. To begin with, he will inaugurate a trauma care medical centre built by India adjacent to Kathmandu’s Bir hospital. The event will be followed by the handing over of the keys to a brand new $6.5-million ‘Dhruv-III’ advanced light helicopter that India has gifted to the Nepal army. Finally, Mr. Modi will flag off a bus service between Kathmandu and Delhi, on the lines of the Delhi-Lahore bus service inaugurated in 1999.
Speaking about the Prime Minister’s earlier planned trip to Janakpur, Lumbini and Muktinath, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said it would be wrong to say it had been “cancelled”, as the Prime Minister was keen to visit them at a later date. “The Parliament session has begun,” said Ms. Swaraj, who landed ahead of the Prime Minister so as to attend the SAARC foreign minister’s meeting. “The PM will visit Janakpur on the next occasion.”