PRADEEP RANA | NEW DELHI
Buoyed by the renewed momentum in India Nepal ties, the Prime Minster of Nepal K P Sharma Oli today said Nepal was no longer a landlocked country but is landlinked and will be sealinked through inland waterways over the rivers traversing India to the Bay of Bengal.
Addressing mediapersons here alongside Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Oli said Nepal was also looking forward to railway connectivity with with India with a line up to Kathmandu. A visibly delighted Modi announced that New Delhi will build a waterway through rivers to connect Nepal to sea.
Today’s warmth in relation comes after a strained spell during which India had reportedly decided to not buy power from Nepal if it decided to let China build its dams.
The two leaders jointly tele-inaugurated the Intergrated Check Post at Birganj, which was formally handed over to Nepal. They hoped that this will enhance cross-border trade and transit of goods and movement of people bringing greater opportunities for shared growth and development.
The two Prime Ministers also witnessed the ground breaking ceremony of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj cross-border petroleum products pipeline at Motihari, India.
“Talking about connectivity, we discussed the possibility of being linked by river navigation. In this context, I thanked Prime Minister Modi ji for positively considering our proposal on inland waterways. Enhanced connectivity will definitely contribute to our desire to be a land-linked country instead of land-locked,” Oli said.
Expressing concern over huge trade deficit between two neighbours, Oli said,” I shared with Prime Minister Modi Ji Nepal’s concerns about alarming scale of trade deficit and stressed on the need of implementing measures to expand Nepal’s export. Agriculture is one of the areas where India has made significant progress and there is potentiality for Nepal to learn.”
The two PMs took the landmark decision to develop the inland waterways for the movement of cargo, providing additional access to sea for Nepal.
India and Nepal also agreed to construct a new electrified rail line, with India’s financial support, connecting the border city of Raxaul in India to Kathmandu in Nepal.
In Phase-I, the stretch of railway lines from Jayanagar to Janakpur/Kurtha and from Jogbani to Biratnagar Custom Yard will be completed in 2018, and that work on the remaining stretch of the ongoing rail link projects: Jayanagar-Bijalpura-Bardibas and Jogbani-Biratnagar, will be taken forward on priority.
India expressed appreciation for Nepal’s commitment to expeditiously resolve all outstanding issues, including land availability, for the ongoing rail link projects.
The two leaders emphasized the importance of implementing the remaining three links under Phase-II of the India-Nepal cross-border rail link projects: New Jalpaiguri-Kakarbhitta, Nautanwa-Bhairahawa, and Nepalgunj Road-Nepalgunj.