KATHMANDU, Aug 22: The fifth meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission, which successfully concluded on Wednesday, has agreed on various bilateral issues starting a new era of partnership and cooperation in Indo-Nepal relations.
The meeting co-chaired by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali and Minister of External Affairs of India Subrahmanyam Jaishankar reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations with specific focus on the areas of connectivity and economic partnership; trade and transit; power and water resources sectors; culture, and education.
In the meeting the two sides exchanged happiness over the momentum generated in the overall aspects of Nepal-India relations following the exchange of high-level visits in the past two years and briefed each other of the progress made on various bilateral projects. The two sides also exchanged views on the review of Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 and submission of report of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations (EPG-NIR). Matters related to cooperation in international, regional and sub- regional fora were also discussed.
Both sides agreed to an early conclusion of the review of treaties and agreements related to the trade, transit and rail services. Both sides also agreed to continue upgradation and maintenance of infrastructure and logistic facilities at major border crossing-points for facilitating trade and transit between the two countries.
The joint commission underlined the need for addressing inundation issues due to the inadequate drainage provision that obstruction the natural flow of water in the border areas, and agreed to take action on the recommendation made by a joint team comprising officials from both sides, who had visited twice the inundation prone areas along Nepal-India border and continue monitoring of the inundation prone areas, according to a press release issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nepal (MoFA).
Both sides also agreed to an early conclusion of the review of treaties and agreements related to the trade, transit and rail services. They also agreed to continue upgradation and maintenance of infrastructure and logistic facilities at major border crossing-points for facilitating trade and transit between the two countries, reads the press release.
Emphasizing the importance of tourism in socio-economic development, the two ministers also agreed to enhance their cooperation in tourism sector, particularly in the context of Visit Nepal Year 2020, the press release reads.
On Nepal’s request for additional air entry routes to Nepal, it was stated that discussion which are underway between the civil aviation authorities of the two countries would yield positive results.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Food Safety and Standards between Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC) of Nepal and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was signed and exchanged in the presence of the two ministers, according to MoFA.
India also handed over a cheque of IRS 807.1 million, which is part of the Indian government’s commitment of IRS 5,000 million toward strengthening road infrastructure in the Tarai region of Nepal. The check was received by Devendra Regmi, Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.
Likewise, another check worth Rs 2.45 billion toward reimbursement to the Indian government for housing reconstruction in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts was handed to Sushil Gyawali, CEO, National Reconstruction Authority.
Expressing happiness at the progress made in the bilateral projects, such as Motihari- Amlekhgunj Petroleum Products Pipeline, four segments of Hulaki Roads, and post-earthquake reconstruction of private housing in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts which have been completed, progress made in Jayanagar-Janakpur and Jogbani-Biratnagar sections of cross-border railway projects and Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar, the Joint Commission agreed to expedite the early completion of remaining agreed projects.
The Joint Commission also expressed satisfaction over progress in three new areas agreed during the visit of Prime Minister Oli to India in April 2018, namely, Raxaul-Kathmandu Electrified Rail Line, Inland Waterways and New Partnership in Agriculture.