Let’s focus on concrete outcome: PM to Swaraj

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Aug 11, 2017-Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said Nepal and India should focus on result-oriented approach and work together for concrete outcome of various past understandings and pacts, including implementation of various India-funded projects in Nepal.

During a meeting with India’s Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, PM Deuba said that the two countries have long been engaged in theoretical discussions and that time has come to turn past pacts and understandings into reality. 

Swaraj, who arrived in Kathmandu earlier on Thursday to participate in the Bimstec ministerial meeting, called on PM Deuba in the evening. The meeting also focused on PM Deuba’s upcoming visit to India.

Swaraj is learnt to have conveyed to the Nepali side that India is eagerly waiting to welcome Deuba in New Delhi. 

A press statement issued by the Embassy of India also said the [external affairs] minister conveyed that the government of India is looking forward to PM Deuba’s state visit to India.

PM Deuba is set to embark on a state visit to the southern neighbour from August 23. 

The prime minister was of the view that his visit to India would focus on realisation of past accords and agreements reached with India, said Dinesh Bhattarai, foreign relations adviser to PM Deuba.  Deuba had earlier visited India thrice as the prime minister—in 1996, 2002 and 2005—and he is keen to dwell on the understandings and pacts reached at that time rather than signing new agreements during his upcoming visit to Delhi. 

Even some agreements reached in 2002 are yet to be implemented, so the prime minister was of the view that he would focus on expediting the implementation of past accords during his visit to India, said Bhattarai. 

Some projects like the Mahakali Treaty, including the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, one polytechnic institute in the far-west region, Upper Karnali, Arun III, east-west railway, cross-border connectivity including rail and road, issues of inundation, floods and irrigation and energy cooperation are some of the projects that have failed to make much headway even though they have been discussed several times in the past. 

“I am of the view that my India visit should focus on getting some concrete outcome; we are also doing homework on our part, PM Deuba told Swaraj. 

Swaraj is learnt to have said that more discussions between the two sides are needed for making tangible progress on various Nepal-India aspects, including past pacts and understandings. 

Pancheshwar, Upper Karnali and Arun III among others are listed as high-priority projects by the Indian side, an official present in the meeting quoted Swaraj as saying.  

“We are committed to timely completion of old and important projects undertaken by us,” Swaraj conveyed to PM Deuba. “India is keen invest in Nepal, but Nepal should also complete the required procedures for the timely completion of the [India-funded] projects.” 

Swaraj’s visit to Nepal this time is the first high level visit from India since Deuba assumed office. During her meeting with PM Deuba, Swaraj highlighted the frequent and intensive high level exchanges “as a reflection of our deepening ties”. 

 The two sides discussed an expanded bilateral agenda reflecting the updated national priorities of Nepal, Swaraj said, adding that progress in reconstruction activities and cooperation in the hydropower sector also came up for discussion. 

Both sides agreed that there are immense possibilities for cooperation in the sectors of infrastructure, connectivity and energy.

No political issues were touched upon during the meeting between Deuba and Swaraj. Details of the 10-minute-long meeting, however, were not made public. 

Published: 11-08-2017 07:37

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