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Nepal’s foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal calls upon External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Wednesday

Foreign secretaries of Nepal and India on Tuesday agreed to further enhance bilateral cooperation in wide-ranging areas as per the understanding reached during recent exchange of high-level visits.
At a bilateral talks held at Hyderabad House in the Indian capital New Delhi, Nepal’s foreign secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and his counterpart Vinay Mohan Kwatra reviewed the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation between India and Nepal, including economic and commercial cooperation, enhancing connectivity, development cooperation, trade, culture and people-people relations, according to a statement issued by India’s External Affairs Ministry.

“They noted with appreciation the progress on many projects and initiatives announced during the recent visits of Prime Minister of Nepal, Rt Hon Sher Bahadur Deuba to India (April 2022) and Prime Minister of India to Lumbini, Nepal (May 2022),” read the statement.
The two countries have witnessed frequent interactions at the high-level in recent months, contributing to promote the age-old friendly relations. Nepal’s 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 the meeting, the two foreign secretaries also discussed boundary matters, according to a statement issued by the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi.

“In this regard, they exchanged views on completing the boundary works in remaining segments through established bilateral mechanisms,” the embassy stated.
The two foreign secretaries were happy at the recent progress particularly in the power sector including export of surplus electricity from Nepal to India during the meeting.
One of the significant developments during the Nepali prime minister’s visit to New Delhi last April was the adoption of the Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation between Nepal and India.
As per the consensus reached at the highest level, Nepal Investment Board under the Nepali government had 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 in the third week of August.
During Tuesday’s talks, the two foreign secretaries agreed to work to further strengthen such cooperation in keeping with the Joint Vision Statement on Power Sector Cooperation.
Ways to boost railroad connectivity between the two countries was another agenda that the two foreign secretaries discussed.
“In terms of connectivity projects, the progress made in operationalization of Kurta-Bijalpura segment of Jayanagar-Bardibas rail link and Bathnaha-Nepal Custom Yard segment of Jogbani-Biratnagar rail link, which are significant steps in further strengthening the people-people links, was noted with satisfaction,” read the statement by Indian foreign ministry.
The two sides also agreed to expeditiously progress on project proposals for the Ramayana Circuit to further strengthen people-people links. Ramayana Circuit incorporates major pilgrimage sites both from Nepal and India that are related to the Ramayana, such as Ayodhya, where a Hindu temple is being constructed for Lord Rama as well as in Nepal’s Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita.
PM Deuba receives Indian counterpart Modi in Lumbini. Modi arrived on a six-hour-long visit to the birthplace of the Lord Buddha. pic.twitter.com/2VWK2TEyuk
— Santosh Ghimire (@journonepali) May 16, 2022

 
As agreed in the past, the two sides also agreed to expeditiously implement extension of a petroleum pipeline connecting Amlekhgunj with Chitwan, Nepal and the construction of an LPG pipeline from Motihari, Bihar to Chitwan, Nepal.
Amendment to bilateral transit treaty
Apart from other issues, the two sides also discussed the amendment to the bilateral transit treaty and its protocol in order to expand trade and connectivity.
The transit treaty, which was signed back in 1999, needs to be amended to further facilitate transit movement of Nepal’s trade with third countries by expanding transit points, simplification of procedures, electronic cargo tracking and also enabling movement of Indian cargo through Nepali territory. Last time, the transit treaty was automatically renewed in January 2020, without making any amendments.
The renewal of a separate bilateral Treaty of Trade between Nepal and India was also discussed during the meeting. On the occasion, the Nepali side requested lifting ongoing restrictions on the supply of fertilizers, wheat, sugar, paddy, and rice to Nepal.
Foreign Secretary Paudyal reached New Delhi on a two-day visit at the invitation of his counterpart Kwatra for the bilateral meeting.  The meeting between the two foreign secretaries took place nearly two years after Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the former foreign secretary of India, paid a two-day visit to Kathmandu in November 2020.
Also Read: Nepal foreign secretary’s visit to take stock, brainstorm stronger ties with India
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