Millennium Post

PM plans big economic package for Nepal

India is expected to announce a major economic assistance package for Nepal during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to the country. India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae on Saturday met Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat when the matters related to the visit were discussed.

‘India is likely to announce a huge economic package during the proposed visit of Modi,’ Ambassador Rae was quoted as saying in a statement issued by Nepal’s Finance Ministry.  During the meeting Mahat sought increased assistance from India in the development of hydropower projects, the Kathmandu-Terai Fast Track road, Postal Highway, Mahakali Bridge and a cricket academy, said the statement.

Ambassador Rae sought pre-information about the assistance Nepal is seeking from India, it added. The dates for Modi’s proposed visit are yet to be announced, but media reports here said he is likely to visit Nepal in early August.

The Finance Ministry said that Indian companies were willing to sign power development agreements with Nepal to generate hydropower. Indian companies such as GMR Consortium and Sutlej Jalavidyut Nigam are ready to move forward once the agreement is signed, it said.

GMR is developing the 900-MW Upper Karnali Hydro Power project and 600-MW Upper Marsyangdi  Project while Sutlej is developing Arun Third with a capacity of 900 MW. Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu on a three-day visit to prepare the ground for Prime Minister Modi’s visit. Swaraj’s Nepal trip would be her maiden visit after assuming the office.

She will lead the Indian delegation at the Third Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting to be held on July 26-27 in Kathmandu. Established in 1987 the Joint Commission is a bilateral mechanism to oversee the gamut of Nepal-India relations and provide directives on measures to further strengthen these relations.

During the visit Swaraj will call on President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Chairman of the Constituent Assembly and will also meet political leaders including the leader of the opposition in Nepal’s Parliament.
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