Jaishankar Holds ‘Productive Discussions’ With His Nepalese Counterpart

Kathmandu: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held “productive discussions” with his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Gyawali on Wednesday and the two leaders comprehensively reviewed the bilateral relations and identified priority areas for cooperation between them.

The two leaders co-chaired the 5th Meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission held here.

“Productive discussions with FM @PradeepgyawaliK at the 5th #IndiaNepal Joint Commission Meeting. Comprehensively reviewed our bilateral relations and identified priority areas for cooperation,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

India provided Rs 233 crore to the Nepal for various infrastructure projects, including roads and reconstruction of houses destroyed in the massive earthquake in 2015 which saw the death of over 9,000 people.

A cheque of INR 153 crore (NR 2.45 billion) was provided for the reconstruction of houses in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts that were badly affected during the earthquake.

Similarly, India also handed over a cheque of INR 80.71 crore for the construction of Hulaki Marga (Postal Roads) in the Terai region of Nepal.

The amount was part of the INR 500 crore commitment made by India towards strengthening the roads in the Terai region.

Jaishankar and Gyawali witnessed the handing over of cheques to Nepalese officials.

A Memorandum of Understanding was also signed between the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and the Department of Food Quality Control of Nepal on the cooperation for maintaining food safety and standard.

The joint meeting reviewed the overall state of bilateral relations, and various areas of cooperation such as connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources, culture, education and other matters of mutual interest.

Established in 1987, the Nepal-India Joint Commissions meetings are being held alternately in both countries. The last meeting was held in New Delhi in October 2016.

This is the first high-level visit by any Indian minister after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election in May this year.

Ahead of the meeting, Jaishankar called on Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and discussed issues of bilateral and mutual interests.

“A warm and in-depth conversation with PM @kpsharmaoli. Really appreciate his receiving me amidst his many preoccupations,” Jaishankar tweeted after his meeting with the prime minister.

Jaishankar, who flew in from Dhaka after a two-day visit to Bangladesh on Wednesday morning, will call on President Bidya Bhandari on Thursday.