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India and Nepal launch cross-border rail link, Deuba urges Modi to resolve border dispute | Latest India News

India and Nepal launched several connectivity and energy cooperation initiatives on Saturday, including a cross-border passenger train, even as Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba urged his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi to take action to resolve a border dispute.

The Indian side has made it clear that the two countries should settle the border issue through dialogue and avoid politicization of these issues. The focus of the meeting between the two prime ministers was on development cooperation, including a joint vision statement for energy cooperation which envisions the joint development of transmission projects and infrastructure.

Modi and Deuba launched the 35km cross-border railway line from Jaynagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Nepal and announced the inaugural launch of a 1,000 passenger capacity train. This is the first broad gauge passenger rail link between the two sides and it will be extended to Bardibas in Nepal under a project supported by an Indian grant from 548 crores. The train will be operated by the Nepal Railway Company (NRC).

The Indian side delivered the Solu Corridor, a 90 km 132 kV power transmission line built to 200 crore under an Indian line of credit. The line will bring electricity to several remote districts in northeastern Nepal by connecting them to the country’s national grid.

Modi and Deuba also launched the Indian RuPay card in Nepal. The domestic variant of the RuPay card will now work at 1,400 outlets in Nepal, and the move is expected to facilitate bilateral tourist flows. Nepal is the fourth country, after Bhutan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, where RuPay is online.

Nepal has signed a framework agreement to join the Indian-led International Solar Alliance, and the two parties have signed three other pacts – a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on enhancing technical cooperation in the railway sector and two agreements between Indian Oil Corporation and Nepal Oil Company for the supply of petroleum products for five years and the sharing of technical expertise.

The joint vision statement on energy cooperation committed both sides to work for the joint development of power generation projects in Nepal, the development of cross-border transmission infrastructure, two-way electricity trade based on the demand of the market and the coordinated operation of national networks. Nepal has invited Indian companies to invest in the development, construction and operation of renewable energy and hydropower projects.

Addressing a joint media interaction with Modi, Deuba touched on the border issue, which had become a major irritant in bilateral relations under his predecessor, KP Sharma Oli. The previous Nepalese government released a new political map and claimed the territories of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh.

“We discussed the border issue and I urged Modiji to resolve [it] through the establishment of a bilateral mechanism,” he said.

Deuba noted that Nepal’s relations with India are “very important” and said his country was “eager to benefit from India’s progress through mutually beneficial economic partnership”. He called for enhanced cooperation in civil aviation, including additional air routes, and prompt delivery of 150,000 tonnes of chemical fertilizers from India.

Modi said India has been a “firm partner in Nepal’s journey of peace, progress and development and always will be”. He said the two leaders agreed to prioritize trade and connectivity initiatives and also discussed the misuse of open borders. “We insisted on maintaining close cooperation between our defense and security institutions,” he added.

Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said border and security issues were briefly discussed by the two sides. “It was generally understood that both sides should address this issue responsibly through discussions and dialogues in the spirit of our close and friendly relationship, and that politicization of these issues should be avoided,” he said. he said during a press briefing after the press conference. talks.

As with all neighbours, there were outstanding issues between India and Nepal, and “what is important between close and friendly neighbors is that you have the ability to…discuss and settle these problems in a way that is satisfactory”. on both sides,” Shringla said.


  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rezaul H Laskar is Foreign Affairs Editor at the Hindustan Times. His interests include cinema and music.
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