India steps up support for Nepal

08 April, 2018, 01:10 | Author: Essie Rivera
  • Modi holds talks with Nepal prime minister, announces new railway, petroleum products line

Assuring all possible support to Nepal, Modi said the Nepalese prime minister's vision for a "prosperous Nepal and developed Nepal" was in sync with his vision of "sabka sath sabka vikas" (together with all, development for all).

Later, Oli held bilateral talks with PM Narendra Modi and issued a joint statement.

India and Nepal ties were at odds past year when Indian origin Madhesi population were running a campaign for their rights.

The Nepalese PM said friendship was more important than signing agreements. "There is a long history of India's contribution towards Nepal's development".

Modi, however, also underlined the issue of inclusion while developing Nepal, keeping in mind the demands of the Madhesis. "Geographically, we are in (the) centre between the two countries".

He stated that his government attaches high importance to further strengthening friendly relations with India.

Oli added that Nepal was between two big neighbours - India and China - and it wanted to have a friendly, neighbourly relations with the two. India announced new partnerships to develop the inland waterways for movement of cargo and in the agriculture sector.

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So when Modi and Oli push a button in New Delhi, that virtually lays the foundation stone of the $1.5 billion, 900 MW Arun III hydro-electric project in the Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal, the Prime Minister's message of cooperation with Nepal will have a strategic caveat to it.

The proposal to link Raxaul to Kathamandu gains significance as it comes almost two years after China, in March 2016, agreed to construct a strategic railway link with Nepal through Tibet with an apparent aim of reducing Kathmandu's dependence on India.

"Let bygones be bygones was the common refrain at the meetings between the two sides at different levels, " an official quipped, in an obvious reference to the bitterness that marked Oli's first term in office in 2015-16 when India imposed an economic blockade on Nepal, which forced the Nepalese leadership to strengthen links with China. Hailing the age-old ties between the two countries, Kovind said: "No other countries in the world have the bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between India and Nepal".

In his comments, Oli mentioned about the enormous impact this additional connectivity would have on the growth of business and economy of Nepal.

India and Nepal have close ties in defence and security and will work together to stop misuse of their open border, Modi said.

This is because the Budhi Gandaki was awarded in June a year ago to China's Gezhouba Group, weeks after former Nepal Prime Minister and Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal, or "Prachanda", chose to join China's Belt and Road Initiative. We have developed our friendship according to time with a objective to eradicate poverty, improve life standards. "Neighbourhood realities make peaceful coexistence, based on the principles of equality, justice, mutual respect and benefits a necessity for shared destiny", Oli said in the statement in presence of Modi.

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

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