PM Dahal leaving for New Delhi today on a four-day official visit to India

Published On: May 31, 2023 07:15 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 30: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is leaving for New Delhi on a four-day official visit to India on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Dahal, who is leading a delegation of more than 100 members that include his cabinet colleagues, high-ranking government officials, members of business community and media persons, will mainly focus on further strengthening bilateral relations through enhanced trade, investment and people to people relations. 

Speaking to a group of journalists at his office on Tuesday, Foreign Minister N P Saud said they plan to hold discussions with the Indian side on a number of issues including long-term power purchase agreement, investment in Nepal's hydropower sector, cross-border connectivity, transmission line, border disputes and new air entry routes. He expressed belief that positive achievements will be made through the prime minister's India visit.

Foreign Minister Saud said that Nepal will put forth its demand for additional air entry routes from India as the existing Simara entry route is heavily congested in recent years due to increased air traffic.  "Simara air entry route is a very busy route these days. We are holding discussions with the Government of India about possible places for additional air entry routes. We have been communicating our needs. We have talked about Nepalgunj, Bhairahawa and Biratnagar entry routes. We are hopeful that positive achievements can be made from this visit," he said. 

Foreign Minister Saud also said that the two countries will hold discussions to make integrated checkpoints in Nepalgunj (Rupaidiya), Bhairahawa (Sunauli) and Biratnagar (Jogbani) operational at the earliest possible date to ensure seamless freight traffic.  He mentioned that the construction of a concrete bridge to connect Nepal's Sudurpaschim Province and India's Uttarakhand will also be discussed during the visit. 

Foreign Minister Saud said that the government will focus on attracting Indian investment in electricity projects, creating an environment for electricity trade by constructing transmission lines, and trading electricity with India and through India with Bangladesh. "We are trying to make a 'long term power deal' with India keeping in mind the guarantee of a market for the development of electricity.  Important steps will also be taken during this visit regarding transit with India. There will be a request for cooperation between Nepal and India to reach the Indian market for agricultural products from Nepal," he further said.

Prime Minister Dahal is leaving for India for a four-day visit from Wednesday at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. "The relationship between us is at the people's level. There is movement through the open border. We have an excellent relationship with India. After the visit of Prime Minister Dahal, the relationship between the two countries will be strengthened further," he added.

Prime Minister Dahal is scheduled to attend a special function to be organized by the Embassy of Nepal in New Delhi on Wednesday evening. He is scheduled to hold a meeting with his Indian counterpart Modi and pay a courtesy call on President Draupadi Murmu, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhad on Thursday. The delegation-level talks between Nepal and India is scheduled on Thursday itself. 

Prime Minister Dahal is scheduled to leave for Madhya Pradesh on Friday. His delegation will return home via New Delhi on Saturday. 

Foreign Minister Saud, Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat, Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Physical Infrastructure and Transport Minister Prakash Jwala, Industry, Commerce and Supplies Minister Ramesh Rijal and other officials are among those in the jumbo delegation of PM Dahal.

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