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Nepal foreign secretary’s visit to take stock, brainstorm stronger ties with India

Vinay Mohan Kwatra in his earlier Avatar as Ambassador to Nepal handing over Covid vaccine to Nepal’s former health minister Bhanubhakta Dhakal.

Nepal and India will review the progress on various initiatives/announcements made during the recent high-level visits between the two countries when Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and his Indian counterpart Vinay Mohan Kwatra hold talks in New Delhi next week, the two foreign ministries said on Friday.

Paudyal’s two-day visit to India begins on September 13 at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Kwatra. The two foreign secretaries are scheduled to hold a bilateral meeting on September 13.

This will be Paudyal’s first official visit to the southern neighbor after he became the country’s foreign secretary in October 2020. Kwatra was India’s ambassador to Nepal before his appointment as Foreign Secretary.

“On 13 September 2022, the Foreign Secretaries will hold discussions on bilateral issues covering the entire range of multifaceted cooperation between India and Nepal, in particular, reviewing the progress on the various initiatives/ announcements made during the recent high level visit of Prime Minister of Nepal, Rt Hon’ble Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba to India and Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi to Nepal, in April and May 2022, respectively,” read a statement issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Friday evening.

Nepal’s foreign ministry, in its official statement, stated that the two sides will discuss different areas of cooperation between Nepal and India.

High level visits have also contributed a lot to promote the age-old multifaceted friendly ties between Nepal and India. Prime Minister Deuba paid a three-day official visit to India from April 1 to 3 while his Indian counterpart reciprocated by paying a one-day visit on May 16 to Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, on the southern plains of Nepal.

During Deuba’s visit to India, the two prime ministers had reviewed the full spectrum of the bilateral agenda covering political, economic, trade, energy, security and developmental issues.

Apart from various other issues, Deuba and Modi discussed the unprecedented opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy sector. In this regard, a Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector cooperation that spells out the shared commitment as well as opportunities for win-win collaboration in power generation, transmission and trade was concluded.

The visit of the Nepali foreign secretary comes at a time when the two immediate neighboring countries are making significant progress particularly in the field of hydropower and connectivity. In the third week of August, Nepal Investment Board under the Nepali government signed a pact with India’s NHPC Limited to develop two hydroelectric projects— West Seti (750 megawatts) and Seti River-6 (450 megawatts) — in the far western region of Nepal.

Wrapping up the official visit, the Nepali foreign secretary will return to Kathmandu on September 15.

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