India-Nepal review development projects in high-level meeting

New Delhi: A virtual meeting was held between India and Nepal, against the background of the border dispute. Both the countries concurred, during the meeting, on reviewing and expediting the development projects of India and Nepal. It is said that there were no discussions on the border dispute. Only two days ago, Nepalese Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli conveyed his wishes to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the occasion of the Indian Independence Day, over the telephone. This is the first step forward by Nepal for talks, since the border dispute, started by the Nepalese Prime Minister, since the last few weeks.   

Vinay Mohan Kwatra, the Indian Ambassador to Nepal, led the Indian delegation during the virtual meeting. Whereas, Shanker Das Bairagi, the Nepalese Foreign Secretary attended the meeting.  Development projects of both countries were reviewed during the meeting. Both the countries concurred on expediting the projects. In 2015, Nepal was rocked by a massive earthquake. There were a huge number of casualties and loss of property in the earthquake. Many houses had been damaged. India is assisting Nepal in the reconstruction of these houses. 46,000 homes will be rebuilt, in the Gorkha and Nuwakot regions of Nepal. This project was reviewed during the meeting. At the same time, both the countries stressed on restarting the Ramayan circuit, cross border fuel line, integrated check post and the community development projects soon. Discussions were also held between the two countries over the Terai road, cross border railway, Arun 3 hydropower project, Pancheshwar multipurpose project, irrigation power and transmission line, Nepal police academy and bridge on the Mahakali river.   

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Nepal in 2016. At that time, an agency was formed by India and Nepal. This agency reviews the bilateral projects and sees if the projects can be completed before the deadline. Both the countries agreed during the meeting, on Monday, that it is necessary to complete the projects at the earliest. Both India and Nepal stressed that there should be a timely resolution of the problems. Nepal also thanked India for the medical assistance provided during the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Meanwhile, it had already been clarified that there would be no discussion on the border dispute during this meeting. The dispute started between India and Nepal after India built the road in Lipulekh. But India attacked the Nepalese stand in a stern language. The Nepalese people themselves started criticising their government for its stand against India. After it was exposed that this was being done at the behest of China, pressures increased on the Pro-Chinese KP Sharma Oli government. Since the last few days, changes are becoming apparent in the stand of the Nepalese government. This is endorsed by the Nepalese policy not to let the border issue, come in the way of the development projects. 

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