Mahara raises four issues with India

  • Swaraj congratulates Nepal for successful two rounds of local elections
- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, NEW DELHI
DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi.

Jul 4, 2017-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Monday held a meeting in New Delhi and dwelt on ways to step up cooperation between the two countries in the areas of security, energy, water resources and trade, among others.

Mahara arrived in the Indian capital on Sunday at the invitation of Swaraj. 

Later during a dinner hosted by Swaraj, Mahara raised four issues as non-paper, according to sources. 

According to Mahara’s chief aide Yubraj Chaulagain, Mahara raised Pancheshowr Multipurpose Project, cooking gas supply to Nepal, exchange of Indian currency notes that Nepali citizens are holding after they were banned by India, and general sales tax that India has recently introduced, which is likely to make Nepali products coming from third countries more expensive. 

These were the major concerns from the Nepali side, said Chaulagain. 

But the Indian side appeared “not so positive” about the cooking gas bullets. Swaraj called on Nepal to fix an LPG station where Indian bullets can supply cooking gas from where Nepali bullets can distribute cooking gas across the country, said Chaulagain. On banned Indian currency notes, Swaraj told Mahara that “we are trying to find way to resolve the problem”. The Indian side, however, appeared positive on the detailed project report of the Pancheshowr Multipurpose Project. 

Swaraj also congratulated Nepal for holding two rounds of local elections, which will set the country on the path of institutionalising the constitution.

“The two leaders noted with pleasure that Nepal-India bilateral relations were making steady progress in recent times and these 

friendly relations had been reinforced by exchange of visits at various levels,” the Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi said in statement issued after the Mahara-Swaraj 

official meeting. 

Mahara’s visit to Delhi, a little less than a month after government change in Kathmandu, is also aimed at laying the ground for Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s visit to India.

Bilateral relations had hit an all-time low two years ago after Nepal adopted a new constitution. India’s terse response to the promulgation of the constitution, which Delhi said “an event it had noted”, had led to souring of ties between Nepal and India.

“Both the leaders reviewed and discussed a wide range of bilateral matters including development cooperation, trade and transit, cross-border infrastructure and 

hydropower projects, among others,” the embassy statement read. 

According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, Mahara and Swaraj held discussions on a wide range of bilateral matters of mutual interest, including ongoing connectivity and development projects. “Both the ministers reiterated their commitment to further strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse sectors and to deepen the traditionally close and friendly relationship between the two countries,” the ministry added.

Published: 04-07-2017 07:19

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