Repairing the complex India-Nepal relationship
The Nepal Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, paid a long-awaited visit to India last week (April 1-3). The outcome might appear modest but what is significant is that India and Nepal effectively managed to steer clear of divisive issues.
Areas of Convergence
- Cross-border rail link -Among the highlights was the operationalisation of the 35 kilometre cross-border rail link from Jayanagar (Bihar) to Kurtha (Nepal). The ?787 crore project had been ready for over a year but operationalisation was held up because of the necessary administrative requirements in Nepal to set up a company that could recruit staff.
- Double circuit transmission line -The second project that was inaugurated was the 90 km long 132 kV double circuit transmission line connecting Tila (Solukhumbu) to Mirchaiya (Siraha) close to the Indian border. Constructed with an Exim Bank concessional loan of ?200 crore, there are a dozen hydroelectric projects planned in the Solu corridor for which the Nepal Electricity Authority has concluded PPAs of 325 MW.
- Others- In addition, agreements providing technical cooperation in the railway sector, Nepal’s induction into the International Solar Alliance, and between Indian Oil Corporation and Nepal Oil Corporation on ensuring regular supplies of petroleum products were also signed.