NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Nepalese counterpart Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Thursday agreed to resolve the prickly boundary dispute under the spirit of friendship in their wide-ranging talks here.
Both sides also signed several major pacts, including increasing India’s import of power to as much as 10,000 MW within the next 10 years. At present, the country imports just 450 MW from Nepal. India also gave regional cooperation a fillip by agreeing to the first trilateral power trade from Nepal to Bangladesh through the Indian grid.
Dwelling on the boundary issue after the talks, Prachanda said, “I urge prime minister Modi ji to resolve the boundary matter through the established bilateral diplomatic mechanism.... India has stood by Nepal as per their neighbourhood first policy and we also hope that the border issue is resolved politically and diplomatically between our countries.”
Ties between the two countries had nosedived in 2020 after Nepal published a new political map showing three regions — Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulekh — in Uttarakhand as part of their land. Modi reiterated that borders should not become barriers between India and Nepal and that the partnership should be superhit in the future.
The agreements and MoUs signed by both sides revolved around improving rail connectivity, power purchase agreements, hydro-electric power, petroleum infrastructure, cross-border payment systems and trade and investment.
There was also a live handing over of a section of a rail line, the inaugural run of a cargo train from India’s Bathnaha to Nepal Customs Yard Yard — newly constructed rail link under Indian grant — and the inauguration of integrated checkposts at Nepalgunj (Nepal) and Rupaidiha (India).