KATHMANDU: Nepal Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal on Sunday said the government's priority is to link Nepal's highlands in the Himalayas with the Indian Ocean, while underscoring the need for greater economic and regional cooperation, which would bolster trade and investments in the region.
Speaking at the Fifth Indian Ocean Conference, IOC 2021 in Abu Dhabi, Paudyal asserted that a land-locked country like Nepal attaches great importance to the Indian Ocean and considered it an economic lifeline.
"There is a need for international and regional support for landlocked developing countries to enhance their capacity for reaping the benefits by linking the highlands in Nepal with the Indian Ocean through seamless hardware and software of connectivity," he said.
In the wake of the challenges posed by COVID-19, the Foreign Secretary opined that a more robust vaccine cooperation and sharing of technical knowhow and capacity enhancement should be at the forefront in the region.
He also underlined the need to maintain ecological balance to fight climate change, while reiterating Nepal's commitment to increase the share of clean energy and achieving net-zero carbon emission by 2045, contributing to the region's ecology.
India Foundation and the government of the UAE have jointly organised the conference that has over 200 delegates from 30 countries.
India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa are some of the high-profile names to participate in this event. The theme of the two-day conference that kicked off on Saturday, is 'Indian Ocean: Ecology, Economy, Epidemic'.