Friday 27 May 2022
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Modi, Deuba inaugurate India-Nepal trains amid caution against misuse

Sources said the Indian prime minister was making a veiled reference to the recent Nepal-China proximity and also Kathmandu's past when it was a haven for Pakistani terrorists

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart in Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba today jointly inaugurated cross-border passenger train services, RuPay payment system in Nepal and signed several MoUs. The leaders also held a delegation-level meeting at Hyderabad House in Delhi. Amid the celebratory mood, Modi warned, in the presence of Deuba, that the open borders should not be misused. “We discussed that the open borders of India and Nepal should not be misused by unwanted elements. We also stressed on maintaining close cooperation between our defense and security agencies,” Prime Minister Modi said as border tensions between India and China, which began in 2020, continue.

Kathmandu has, in the past, talked about its friendly relations with Beijing.

Even Pakistani terrorists and their Indian foot soldiers used to seek refuge and safe haven in Nepal at one point.

India and Nepal today finalised four pacts to expand ties in areas such as railways, and energy. This is Prime Minister Deuba’s first bilateral visit abroad since assuming office for the fifth time in July last year. “Friendly ties between India and Nepal are unique… such friendship is not seen anywhere else in world. Our joint vision statement on power cooperation will prove to be a blueprint for future cooperation,” Prime Minister Modi said today.

The mood was otherwise positive. Deuba had arrived in New on Friday on a three-day visit to India on Prime Minister Modi’s invitation. Before reaching Hyderabad House, Deuba paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi and laid a wreath at Rajghat.

Today the Nepal prime minister has visited India as the country celebrates new year. He has played a crucial role in ties with India. Our ties date back to historic times. The basis of our partnership is the mutual relations between our peoples and the exchanges that take place between them. They give energy and strength to our relationships. India has been and always will be a firm partner in Nepal’s journey of peace, progress and development.”

“We also agreed on the subject of greater participation by Indian companies in Nepal’s hydropower development plans. It is a matter of that Nepal is exporting its surplus power to India. It will make a good contribution to the economic progress of Nepal,” the prime minister said.

A 35-km cross-border train service — Jaynagar-Kurtha section- that was inauguarated on Saturday — is a part of the 68.7km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardidas rail link built under the central government’s grant assistance.

As many as 98% of Nepal’s transit takes place through India and 65% of Nepal’s total trade is with India, according to reports.

“Wide-ranging talks on our multi-faceted partnership are on the agenda,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

India signed and exchanged four documents and MoUs with Nepal today, expanding the bilateral ties in areas such as railways and energy.

The prime minsters inaugurated the Solu Corridor 132 KV power transmission line and sub-station in Nepal built under government of India’s Line of Credit. Further, Nepal joined the International Solar Alliance.

The prime ministers inaugurated also a cross-border rail network between Jaynagar in Bihar and Nepal’s Kurtha.

Together, the premiers launched RuPay payment card in Nepal. “The launch of the RuPay card in Nepal will add a new chapter to our financial connectivity,” Prime Narendra Modi said about the joint statement with Nepal Prime Minister Deuba.

They held a delegation-level meeting at Hyderabad House in Delhi.

Nepal’s relationship with India is highly important, Nepal PM Deuba said after holding talks with PM Modi.

“I truly admire your love and affection for Nepal its people and my visit today will further enforce these innate sentiments,” Deuba issued a joint statement with Modi.

Prime Minister Modi said, “Deuba and I agreed to give priority to and cross-border connectivity initiatives between two countries.”

“Our joint vision statement on power cooperation will prove to be the blueprint of cooperation, in the future,” Prime Minister Modi said after talks with his Nepal counterpart.

“We agreed on greater participation by Indian companies in Nepal’s hydropower development plans,” the prime minister said.

India has been a firm companion in Nepal’s journey of peace, prosperity and development, Modi said, adding that Deuba has played an important role in developing India-Nepal relations.

“I am delighted to announce that several more proposals for importing power from Nepal are being approved. I am happy that Nepal has become a member of the International Solar Alliance. This will promote sustainable, affordable and clean energy in our region,” PM Modi also said.

The Indian prime minister also termed friendly ties between India and Nepal unique. “Such friendship is not seen anywhere else in world,” he said.

Modi said, “We also expressed agreement on more participation of Indian companies in Nepal’s hydropower development projects. It is a matter of that Nepal is exporting its surplus power to India. This will make positive contributions to the economic development of Nepal,”

*Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said talks between the prime ministers were positive, and areas like security, development, were covered. He said Deuba has thanked Prime Minister Modi for standing by Nepal during Covid and supplying vaccines, medicines, medical oxygen.

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