Nepal-India Foreign Secretary Level Meeting

Nepal reiterates its request to India to provide additional air-entry routes

Published On: February 14, 2023 08:15 AM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

Foreign Secretaries of Nepal and India agree to complete the boundary works including those of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipu Lekh through the established bilateral mechanism.

KATHMANDU, Feb 14: Nepal has reiterated its request to India to provide additional air-entry routes and early concurrence of the near border flight operation of the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa. 

Foreign Minister Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal and Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal separately raised the issues in their respective meetings with the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra. Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra had paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Dr Paudyal before sitting for the Foreign Secretary level bilateral meeting.

According to Foreign Minister Paudyal's media coordinator Yashoda Adhikari, the issue of new air-entry routes to Bhairahawa International Airport and Pokhara Regional International Airport was discussed during the meeting. 

Separately, Foreign Secretary Paudyal reiterated Nepal's request for additional air entry routes including from Mahendranagar, Nepalgunj and Janakpur and early concurrence of the near border flight operation of the newly-built Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa during the foreign secretary level bilateral meeting between the two countries. 

Although the request for the same is being placed at the highest level in Nepal with India almost since a decade ago, Nepal-India air route talks keep going round in circles. The Indian government has so far appeared reluctant to grant additional air-entry routes, leaving Nepal's newly-built international airports in Bhairahawa and Pokhara commercially not viable. 

Although India has remained reluctant to provide the said air-entry route, it provided new air entry-routes to Nepal over Biratnagar and Janakpur on June 17, 2018. Prior to that, Nepal-bound international flights would enter Nepali airspace from Simara only. 

The two foreign secretaries also held discussion in the boundary matters including those of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura. The two sides have agreed to complete the boundary works that are yet to be settled through the established bilateral mechanisms. 

"The two Foreign Secretaries also discussed boundary matters. In this regard, they exchanged views on completing the boundary works in the remaining segments through the established bilateral mechanisms," reads a press statement issued by the MoFA.

During the foreign secretary level meeting, Nepal and India also discussed technical upgrading of cross-border transmission lines and early approval of the four proposed transmission line projects under the LOC-IV. The transmission lines being built with LOC include Butwal-Nepalgunj, Amlekhgunj-Inaruwa (400kv), Inaruwa-Purniya (India), 400kv and Bheri Corridor transmission line.  

The two sides discussed the early conclusion of the renewed transit treaty, review of the trade treaty, and convening of the Inter-governmental Committee on Trade (IGC) at an early date. They also agreed to finalize the MoU between foreign service academies of the two countries. 

Foreign Secretary Paudyal hosted a luncheon in honor of the visiting Indian Foreign Secretary and the members of his delegation.

Foreign Secretary Kwatra called on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Foreign Minister Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal in the afternoon. Matters of mutual interests were discussed during the calls on. 

Foreign Secretary Kwarta is scheduled to return home on Wednesday, wrapping up his two-day visit to Nepal. 



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