Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Nepalese counterpart Pushpakamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Thursday (June 1) held wide-ranging talks focusing on boosting India-Nepal cooperation in several areas including energy, connectivity and trade.
The Nepalese Prime Minister began his four-day visit to India on Wednesday (May 31).
Will strive to take India-Nepal ties to Himalayan heights: PM Modi
India and Nepal will strive to take their relationship to Himalayan heights and resolve the boundary issue and all such matters in this spirit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after holding wide-ranging talks with his Nepalese counterpart.
In his media statement after the talks, Mr. Modi said he and Mr. Prachanda took many important decisions to make the partnership between the two countries a “super hit” in the future even as the two leaders remotely inaugurated a number of projects and laid the foundation stone of some others.
The two sides also signed seven agreements to boost cooperation in a range of areas, including extension of cross-border petroleum pipeline, development of integrated check posts and boosting cooperation in hydroelectric power.
One of the key pacts signed was the revised India-Nepal treaty of transit.
“We will continue to strive to take our relationship to Himalayan heights. And in this spirit, we will resolve all issues, be it boundary related or any other issue,” Mr. Modi said in presence of Mr. Prachanda.
Mr. Modi also referred to his priority in strengthening ties with Nepal after he took charge as Prime Minister nine years back.
“I remember, nine years ago, in 2014, within three months of taking office, I made my first visit to Nepal. At that time I had given a ‘hit’ formula for India-Nepal relations — Highways, I-ways, and Trans-ways,” Mr. Modi said.
“I had said that we will establish such a relationship between India and Nepal that our borders do not become barriers between us,” he said.
Mr. Modi said he was feeling proud to say after nine years that “our partnership has been really a ‘hit’.”
Following the talks, the two leaders virtually inaugurated integrated check posts at Rupaidiha in India and Nepalgunj in Nepal. They also virtually flagged off a cargo train from Bathnaha in Bihar to Nepal custom yard.
To further strengthen cultural and religious ties, PM Prachanda and I decided that projects related to Ramayana circuit should be expedited, Mr. Modi said.
In his comments, Mr. Prachanda said he and Mr. Modi carried out an “extensive review” of the progress in the ties and renewed their commitment to further strengthen relations and cooperation.
The Nepalese Prime Minister said he appreciated Mr. Modi’s “neighbourhood first policy”.
“The relations between Nepal and India are age-old and multi-faceted. This relationship stands on the solid foundation built on one hand by the rich tradition of civilisational, cultural and socio-economic linkage and on the other by the firm commitment of the two countries to the time-tested principle of sovereign equality, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation,” he said.
He said the two sides discussed ways to further strengthen cooperation in diverse areas including trade, transit, investment, hydro-power, power trade, irrigation, power transmission line, expansion of petroleum pipeline, construction of integrated check post and land and air connectivity.
“We are happy to see the remarkable transformation of India’s economic and development landscape under the able leadership of PM Modi. I congratulate PM Modi on the completion this week of nine years in government with far reaching achievement in many fronts,” Mr. Prachanda said.
It is the first bilateral trip abroad by the 68-year-old Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) leader after he assumed the top office in December 2022.
Transforming the civilisational ties between India and Nepal with deeper cooperation in areas of connectivity, economy, energy and infrastructure will be a focus area of talks between Mr. Modi and Mr. Prachanda, people familiar with the Nepalese leader's visit to India said.
Nepal is important for India in the context of its overall strategic interests in the region, and the leaders of the two countries have often noted the age-old "Roti-Beti" relationship which refers to cross-border marriages between people of the two countries.
The country shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian States — Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.
Nepal's access to the sea is through India, and it imports a predominant proportion of its requirements from and through India.
The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations between the two countries.