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Indian, Nepalese officials discuss ways to further enhance trade ties

Indian, Nepalese officials discuss ways to further enhance trade ties
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Kathmandu: Officials from India and Nepal on Monday held a virtual meeting to review the progress made on bilateral economic agenda, including the evaluation of treaties of trade and transit, and discussed ways to further enhance trade and commercial linkages.

The Commerce Secretaries of India and Nepal co-chaired the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade through video conferencing.

Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary, Government of India was joined by the Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra and a 15 member delegation drawn from various Ministries and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu, while his counterpart, Baikuntha Aryal, Secretary (Commerce & Supplies) of Nepal was assisted by representatives of various Ministries and Departments of Government of Nepal.

The IGC is the apex bilateral mechanism for the promotion of trade and investments between the two countries.

The meeting reviewed the progress made on several notable agenda items in the sphere of trade and commerce, the Indian Embassy said in a statement.

These included discussions on comprehensive reviews of the Treaty of Transit and the Treaty of Trade, amendments to the Rail Services Agreements, measures taken for investment promotion, the constitution of Joint Business Forum, harmonisation of standards as well as synchronised development of trade infrastructure on the two sides.

The two sides also discussed in detail various government-level initiatives that need to be taken in future for further enhancing trade and commercial linkages, the statement said.

The Inter-Governmental Sub-Committee (IGSC) at the level of Joint Secretaries met on December 3 and 4 in the preparation for the IGC meeting.

India remains the largest trade and investment partner of Nepal both in terms of Nepali imports and Nepali exports. In fact, India is the only trading partner of Nepal with whom Nepali exports have consistently increased in the last two to three years, the statement said.

The wide-ranging discussions and the progress made in the meeting are expected to further support the expansion in economic and commercial ties between India and Nepal, it said.

The meeting took place ahead of a possible visit to New Delhi by Nepal's Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali in mid-December.

Gyawali's India visit is expected to reset bilateral exchanges between the two neighbours that had stalled due to a bitter boundary dispute and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last month, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's maiden visit to Nepal from November 26-27 was largely aimed at resetting bilateral ties that came under severe strain following a bitter border row.

Earlier in November, Indian Army chief Gen M M Naravane travelled to Nepal on a three-day visit during which he held talks with Nepal's top leadership and discussed bilateral relations.

Earlier to that, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) chief Samant Kumar Goel visited Nepal in October and held talks with the country's

leaders.

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