Soon, new rail line to connect India and Kathmandu, says PM Modi

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli receives a guard of honour at Rastrapati Bhavan in New Delhi India on Saturday

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli receives a guard of honour at Rastrapati Bhavan in New Delhi India on Saturday

India's ambassador to Nepal, Manjeev Singh Puri, underlined the importance of the proposed rail and river link, saying it would remove the feeling among Nepalese about being land-locked.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli today held wide-ranging talks and agreed to step up two-way engagement in key areas of defence and security, connectivity, trade and agriculture.

Hon'ble Mr. K.P. Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal, is on a State visit to India from April 6-8, 2018, at the invitation of the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.

The objective, according to a joint statement, is to expand "connectivity" between the two neighbours and "enhance people-to-people linkages and promote economic growth and development".

Modi also said both sides would like to jointly start a new rail link connecting Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, with India. "Let Nepal take Chinese assistance to build those dams and let China buy back the power produced from there", the government official said.

After the delegation-level talks, Modi said India will always stand by Nepal in its quest for all-around growth, asserting that deeper cooperation between the two neighbours will strengthen democracy in Nepal.

India will carry out preparatory survey work within one year and the two sides would finalise the implementation and funding modalities of the project based on the Detailed Project Report.

There are three other railway projects in the pipeline - New Jalpaiguri-Kakarbhitta, Nautanwa-Bhairahawa and Nepalgunj Road-Nepalgunj. Alongside these projects, they will also bring into discussion the issues related to trade deficit and would stress on India to complete previously made infrastructure projects with many of them limping along for decades.

"Having reached a stage of political stability following the recent elections, Nepal has now embarked on the joinery of social-economic development with the motto "prosperous Nepal: happy Nepalis", he said.

"As friendly neighbours, our two countries need to be aware of and have respect for each others concerns and sensitivities". This was decided in September past year during the visit of Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to Beijing.

Both the prime ministers appreciated the progress made in the implementation of Phase-I of the Nepal-India cross-border rail link projects.

The 135-day blockade from September 20, 2015, at the Raxaul-Birgunj check post - which accounts for about 70 per cent of supplies to Nepal from India - had soured bilateral relations, already strained by the big brother attitude India showed earlier in the year by making a big display of its relief work during the Nepal natural disaster. The visit might help the two nations address the issue. Our friendship is historical, renewed, developed and is very fruitful. "We wish to take forward our relationship on the basis of goodwill, mutual trust and mutual benefit". "Relation is more important than deal and agreement".

During his interaction with Indian businessmen, Oli sought to tap them for investments and promised them ease of doing business in Nepal.

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