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India's Nepal hand holding: Railway links, Arun III & Ramayan circuit to boost tourism

By Radhika | PUBLISHED: 15, May 2018, 20:21 pm IST | UPDATED: 16, May 2018, 9:58 am IST

India's Nepal hand holding: Railway links, Arun III & Ramayan circuit to boost tourism  New Delhi: Marking their second bilateral Summit in 2018, the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal held delegation level talks for a promising future.
 
In the backdrop of Prime Minister Oli's visit it was agreed upon to maintain the momentum generated by the visit by taking effective measures for the implementation of all the agreements and understandings reached in the past. They also agreed that effective implementation of the bilateral initiatives in agriculture, railway linkages and inland waterways development, as agreed upon by the two sides during the recent visit of Prime Minister Oli to India, will have transformational impact in these areas.

While reviewing the close and multifaceted relations between the two countries at different levels, the two Prime Ministers reiterated their resolve to work together to take bilateral relations to newer heights by strengthening ongoing cooperation in diverse spheres as well as expanding partnership for socio-economic development on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual trust, respect and mutual benefit.
 
A joint statement issued after the meeting said that the two Prime Ministers emphasized the need for regular convening of bilateral mechanisms, including Nepal-India Joint Commission at Foreign/External Affairs Ministers level, to review the overall state of bilateral relations, and for the expeditious implementation of the economic and development cooperation projects.

They underscored the importance of trade and economic ties between India and Nepal. Expressing concern over Nepal’s growing trade deficit with India, PM Oli stated that measures to address this deficit need to be taken. In this context, the two Prime Ministers welcomed the outcome of the recently held Inter-Governmental Committee meeting on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to control unauthorized trade to jointly initiate a comprehensive review of the bilateral Treaty of Trade, and to consider amendments to the Treaty of Transit and related Agreements with a view to further facilitating Nepal's access to the Indian market, enhancing overall bilateral trade, and facilitating Nepal's transit trade.
   
PM Oli and Modi underlined the catalytic role of connectivity in stimulating economic growth and promoting movement of people. They agreed to take further steps to enhance the economic and physical connectivity by air, land, and water. Recognizing the vibrant people to people contacts and friendly bilateral ties, the two Prime Ministers directed the respective officials to expand cooperation in civil aviation sector, including early technical discussion on additional air entry routes to Nepal by respective technical teams.
 
The joint statement reiterated the importance of advancing cooperation in water resources for mutual benefit in areas such as river training works, inundation and flood management, irrigation, and to enhance pace of implementation of ongoing bilateral projects. They also expressed satisfaction over constitution of the joint team, which will visit areas affected by inundation and floods and consider appropriate measures for sustainable solution.
 
The two Prime Ministers jointly laid the foundation stone of 900 MW Arun-III hydro-electric project in Nepal. They expressed hope that operationalization of the project would help enhance cooperation in the generation and trade of power between the two countries. The two Prime Ministers welcomed the outcome of the recently concluded meeting of the Joint Steering Committee on cooperation in the power sector held on 17 April 2018. They agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation in power sector in line with the bilateral Power Trade Agreement.

Prime Minister Modi visited Janakpur and Muktinath and attended civic receptions in Kathmandu and Janakpur.

With a view to further strengthening the close religious and cultural ties between the two countries and peoples, the Modi and Oli together launched Nepal-India Ramayana Circuit connecting Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, with Ayodhya and other sites associated with the epic Ramayana. In Janakpur, the two Prime Ministers flagged off the inaugural direct bus service between Janakpur and Ayodhya.
 
The two Prime Ministers directed their respective officials to address outstanding matters by September 2018, with the objective of advancing cooperation in all areas.

Joint statement said the two Prime Ministers underscored the importance of regional and sub-regional cooperation under BIMSTEC, SAARC, and BBIN frameworks for forging meaningful cooperation in identified sectors.
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