Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to Nepal on Sunday is expected to resolve the obstacles to the power trade agreement between the two countries.
The three-member panel consisting of Nepal’s Finance Minister Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Mr Bhim Rawal of the CPN-UML and Mr Narayan Kaji Shrestha of the UCPN (Maoist) had prepared a draft of the power trade agreement (PTA) for the two governments’ consideration. They had suggested that two countries come to an agreement only on power trade and its transmission. However, an Indian draft that suggested an integrated approach to Nepal’s power development – including hydropower and other forms of renewable energy – was heavily criticised here, forcing Indian Embassy to issue a clarification. Nepal is awaiting India’s response on the matter.
However, Mr Modi’s visit should not be seen as a failure merely because no major agreement would be signed, the three leaders stressed.
Dr. Mahat, however, said Nepal would draw Mr. Modi’s attention to duties imposed by India on its goods destined for India’s markets. “We want better access to India’s markets,” the Finance Minister said. Nepal exports garments, vegetable fat, vegetable ghee and copper.
He said that India has sought and got Nepal’s support in its bid for seat on the UN Security Council as a Permanent Member, but it needs to “restructure its relations with its neighbours.”
Upendra Yadav, chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal, said it would be improper to expect any fundamental shifts in the relations just because there is new government in power in India. Speaking at a discussion on India-Nepal relations organised and telecast live by Avenues TV, Mr. Yadav said Nepal should also forward a draft of the new treaty of friendship and peace by reflecting realities of the modern times. It should cover interests of both the countries, he added.