The Right Hon’ble Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal, accompanied by his spouse, Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba is on an official visit to India from 1-3 April 2022, on the invitation of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.
This is Prime Minister Deuba’s fifth visit to India in his capacity as the Prime Minister and the first bilateral visit after taking charge as the Prime Minister in July 2021. Dr. Narayan Khadka, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Pampha Bhusal, Minister of Energy, Water Resources, Mr. Bhirodh Khatiwada, Minister for Health & Population, Mr. Mahindra Ray Yadav, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development are part of the delegation accompanying the Prime Minister during this visit.
Both Prime Ministers held bilateral talks on 02 April 2022. They reviewed the full spectrum of the bilateral agenda covering political, economic, trade, energy, security and developmental issues. External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor, Shri Ajit Doval called on Prime Minister Deuba during his stay in New Delhi.
Both Prime Ministers discussed the unprecedented opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector. In this regard, a Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector cooperation that spells out the shared commitment as well as opportunities for win-win collaboration in power generation, transmission and trade was concluded during the visit. Both Prime Ministers jointly inaugurated the 90 km long 132 KVDC Solu Corridor Transmission line and substation built under the Line of Credit extended by India. Both sides agreed to expedite progress in the implementation of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, beginning with early finalization of the Detailed Project Report (DPR).
The Prime Minister of Nepal appreciated the fresh approvals granted to Nepal Electricity Authority for the export of substantial amount of power to India. He further invited greater participation of Indian companies in Nepal’s hydropower development projects. The progress made in 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal was also noted.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed Nepal’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), with Nepal, on 01 April 2022, becoming the 105th country to become a signatory to the Framework Agreement of the ISA.
Both Prime Ministers also exchanged views on the economic and trade agenda and decided to accelerate action to further deepen and facilitate trade, investment and connectivity linkages. Both Prime Ministers welcomed the recent conclusion of the G-to-G Agreement to facilitate the long term supply of fertilizers from India to Nepal and the renewal of the Five-Year General Supply Agreement for supply of petroleum products from India to Nepal.
Both leaders discussed the wide ranging and robust bilateral development partnership. They reviewed the progress in implementation of Indian projects in Nepal, including the cross-border rail-link projects connecting (a) Jayanagar-Kurtha-Bijalpur-Bardibas (b) Jogbani-Biratnagar (c) Raxaul-Kathmandu. In a historic milestone, the first broad-gauge passenger railway service connecting India and Nepal in the Jayanagar-Kurtha section was flagged off by the two Prime Ministers during the visit. The Jayanagar-Kurtha rail link has been built with grant assistance from the Government of India.
Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Deuba for assuring Government of Nepal’s full support in resolving bottlenecks and facilitating the time-bound completion of all India-assisted projects, including the National Police Academy at Kavrepalanchowk, the Integrated Check Posts at Nepalgunj and Bhairahawa and the projects under the Ramayana circuit. It was also shared with Prime Minister Deuba that under India’s ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations, India will inaugurate 75 development projects in Nepal this year.
The use of Indian RuPay card in Nepal was jointly launched by the two Prime Ministers. This would open new vistas for cooperation in financial connectivity, and is expected to facilitate bilateral tourist flows as well as further strengthen people-to-people linkages between India and Nepal.
On 03 April 2022, Prime Minister Deuba visited to Varanasi, a city that symbolizes the deep religious and cultural links between the two countries. He was received at Varanasi by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, accompanied him during this leg of his stay.
India’s relationship with Nepal is one of the main pillars of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. The visit of Prime Minister of Nepal to India contributed in further cementing the traditional and age-old ties of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. The expansive and productive talks between the two Prime Ministers provided high-level direction and gave shape to a robust agenda for bilateral cooperation in multiple sectors, particularly those related to energy and connectivity.