Nepali, Indian foreign secys review joint projects

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KATHMANDU, APR 03 – Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar held a meeting with his Nepali counterpart Shanker Das Bairagi on Thursday where they reviewed the progress of various projects jointly initiated by India and Nepal.

Jaishankar and Bairagi discussed on the progress in the implementation of the projects of bilateral interest as well as the issue of regional and global concerns, including the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ( Saarc).  They also reviewed the agreements between Nepal and India that were signed separately during the Nepal visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

The two sides agreed to prioritise the development of joint project s and their implementation in a time-bound manner, Acting Foreign Secretary Bairagi told reporters after the meeting.

Matters concerning development of Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project, settlement of boundary dispute between the two countries, construction of petroleum pipeline link, and utilisation of Indian soft loan of US $ 1 billion, among others, were discussed in the meeting.

The two foreign secretaries also recalled the Nepal visit of Indian Prime Minister Modi in August 2014 and the third Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting held at the Foreign/External Affairs Ministers’ level, and shared their views on the significance of such exchanges of dialogues at the highest political level.

Indian Foreign Secretary Jaishankar underlined the need of working closely in order to translate the vision of leaders from both countries into a concrete outcome.

After meeting with Bairagi, Jaishankar called on Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey at the latter’s office in Singha Durbar.

Foreign Minister Pandey emphasised the need of strengthening the Nepal-India relations by enhancing turst and confidence at both the government and people-to-people level. He also highlighted the importance of greater regional connectivity to realise the vision of Saarc Charter for a peaceful and prosperous South Asia.

The Indian foreign secretary conveyed India’s commitment to work for a closer and more integrated South Asia, the tenet of ‘neighbourhood first’ policy adopted by the Modi government.