India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, to Strengthen Ties with Nepal Through Key Agreements – South Asia Time

India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, to Strengthen Ties with Nepal Through Key Agreements

 January 3, 2024  

Kathmandu — During his upcoming visit to Kathmandu, India’s External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar, is set to lead an Indian delegation for the seventh meeting of the Nepal-India joint commission. The visit aims to bolster bilateral ties, with at least two agreements on long-term energy cooperation and increased funds for small development projects under discussion.

Expected to arrive on Thursday morning, Jaishankar will co-chair the commission’s meeting alongside Nepali Foreign Minister NP Saud. This high-level mechanism reviews the comprehensive status of bilateral relations between the two nations.

While the formal announcement of the visit is pending, sources suggest that the agreements are on the agenda for discussion. The Indian delegation, including Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and other officials, will engage in talks covering various issues, including border concerns, trade, commerce, economic cooperation, and electricity trade.

One notable topic for discussion is the detailed project report of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. Despite existing differences requiring political resolution, there is optimism that an agreement might be reached during Jaishankar’s visit.

The long-term energy cooperation agreement, previously discussed during Prime Minister Dahal’s visit to India last year, is expected to see tangible progress. The agreement entails India importing 10,000 megawatts from Nepal over ten years, addressing the pressing need for energy collaboration.

Additionally, Jaishankar’s visit will witness a significant development in small development projects. India’s proposal to increase funds for these projects, now termed High-impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs), is set to be finalized. The budget per project is anticipated to rise from Rs50 million to Rs200 million, reflecting a commitment to local-level contributions.

With Jaishankar engaging with Nepal’s President Ramchandra Paudel, Prime Minister Dahal, and other key leaders, the visit underscores the continued efforts to strengthen the longstanding ties between India and Nepal. The outcomes of these discussions are poised to shape the trajectory of cooperation and partnership in the coming years.