PM Modi likely to attend conference: Indian Minister Swaraj

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NEW DELHI, JUN 11 – Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has indicated that India will take part in international donor conference slated for June 25 in Kathmandu, with the likely attendance of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

During a meeting with visiting Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat at her residence on Wednesday, Swaraj assured Indian financial and technical support for Nepal’s reconstruction and rehabilitation.

“We are eagerly waiting Nepal’s plan, programme and strategy for its reconstruction bid,” she told Mahat, arrived in the Indian capital on Wednesday to invite PM Modi to the conference aimed at raising funds for reconstruction of the infrastructure damaged in the devastating April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks.

Mahat will meet Modi on Thursday and hand over the invitation sent by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.

During the meeting, Mahat apprised Swaraj about Nepal’s preparations for the conference saying that over five dozen countries and development partners would participate in the event.

More than 65 representatives from various countries, donor agencies, development partners and multilateral donor agencies will be invited to the donor conference.

According to the preliminary estimation of the Finance Ministry, the disaster caused Nepal a loss of $10 billion. To kick-start the recovery project, Nepal government has set up a $2 billion fund and hopes to raise additional fund from donors and development partners.

Mahat said Nepal would seek soft loan and aid for the reconstruction works once the damage and rebuilding costs are ascertained.

Informing that a Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report will be out within a week, Mahat said it would take five years to rebuild the damaged infrastructure.

Later in the afternoon, Minister Mahat held talks with Additional Secretary at Indian Prime Minister Office PK Mishra at the Nepali Embassy where he appreciated India’s prompt response to Nepal’s request for help in search and rescue mission.

He told Mishra that the 16-point deal between the political parties on Monday has exhibited positive hope in Nepal. Mahat will also meet his Indian counterpart Arun Jaitley and other officials on Thursday to hold bilateral discussions regarding utilisation and implementation of the $1 billion soft loan that Modi had announced during his Nepal visit last August.