Prachanda-Modi meet in New Delhi: What were the talking points?

Nepal PM mentioned boundary matters and additional air entry routes, the points conspicuously absent in the address of Indian PM Narendra Modi.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi met in New Delhi on Thursday during the former’s official visit to the southern neighbor after taking office in December, 2022.

During the press meet, the two prime ministers outlined the major points of discussions between them.

PM Modi, while recalling his first trip to Nepal three months after taking office in 2014, said “we have made several achievements in the last nine years.” He listed the first integrated check post in Birgunj, the first cross-border petroleum pipeline between Nepal and India, the first broad-gauge rail line, new transmission lines, and import of more than 450 MW of electricity from Nepal as major achievements of the last nine years. 

Modi mentioned that a revised treaty of transit has been signed, and an agreement related to financial connectivity through a cross-border digital payment system has also been accomplished.

Modi informed that a long-term power trade agreement has been finalized. “We aim to import 10,000 MW electricity from Nepal in the coming ten years,” he said.

Agreements to build Phukot-Karnali and lower Arun hydro power projects and to extend Motihari-Amlekhgunj pipeline up to Chitwan were major achievements according to Modi. According to him, a new petroleum pipeline would be built from Siligudhi to Jhapa and new storage terminals would be built in Chitwan and Jhapa.

While reiterating many of the points mentioned by Modi, Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda informed that Nepal and India reviewed the progress made in the implementation of hydro electricity projects in Nepal and toward the construction of cross-border transmission lines. “I requested PM Modi for approval of the import of additional 1200 MW of power from Nepal, including 456 MW upper Tamakoshi,” he said. According to Prachanda, the two leaders also discussed the export of up to 50 MW power to Bangladesh via India.

Though Modi did not mention it in his address, Prachanda said that they agreed to advance the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project by concluding the Detailed Project Report (DPR) within three months. “Respective officials have been directed to expedite the bilateral discussions for the purpose,” he said.

“We discussed to resolve the problem of inundation and take measures for flood control. We discussed ways to reduce the trade deficit with India,” Prachanda said.

Another point reiterated by the Nepal PM and skipped by the Indian PM was about the much-needed additional air entry routes. “We discussed about Nepal’s request for additional air entry routes,” Prachanda said. “Nepal welcomes India’s positive indication for air entry routes for bilateral flights.” “We request for approval of high altitude additional air entry routes from Mahendra Nagar at an early date,” he said.

Prachanda indicated India’s approval for a near border flight operation in Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa. “We appreciate India’s approval for near border flight operation in the Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa Nepal through publishing ILS (Instrument Landing System) procedure in the AIP (Aeronautical Information Publication) to enhance safety and efficiency of the flight operation,” he said. 

He also expressed Nepal’s desire to have regular flights from Nepal’s newly-built International Airport from Bhairahawa and Pokhara to and from various cities of India. 

“Prime Minister Modiji and I discussed the boundary matter. I urged PM Modi to resolve the boundary matter through the established bilateral diplomatic mechanism,” Prachanda said.

Nepal PM extended an invitation to Modi for Nepal visit. 

Key agreements and MoUs:

  • Agreement on revised treaty of trade and transit
  • Agreement related to extension of petroleum pipelines from Siligudhi to Jhapa and Amlekhgunj to Chitwan
  • Integrated Check-Point in Dodhara-Chandani
  • Lower Arun Hydro Project
  • Phukot-Karnali Hydro Power Project
  • Cross-border digital payment system
  • Long-term power trade agreement