Nepalese PM begins maiden visit to India

The Nepalese PM is keen to push the proposed 6,000 MW hydro-electric project at Pancheswar on the India-Nepal border during his visit to New Delhi. But the Maoist leader and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda has warned the PM against striking any deal with India on the multi-purpose hydropower project without resolving the issues on sharing of water and power. Uncertainty also looms large on the proposed Treaty on Control of Unauthorised Trade, as New Delhi appears to be reluctant to reciprocate Kathmandu’s offer of allowing India to re-export imports from a third country. However, a revised version of the bilateral trade treaty may be inked during the Nepalese PM’s visit, which is scheduled to conclude on Saturday.

Diplomatic sources said that Kathmandu had already offered New Delhi its go-ahead to re-export to Nepal the goods imported from any third country through international agents based in India. Nepal expected that India too would reciprocate and make the same offer to it. But New Delhi seems to be reluctant, anticipating that it might open the door for transshipment of goods to India from Nepal even if no official international agent is based in the Himalayan country.

Last-minute hitch

Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs here said that negotiations were still on to remove the last-minute hitch about the treaty. New Delhi has offered to Kathmandu temporary re-export facility for machinery tools from Nepal to India for repair and maintenance.

The Treaty of Control of Unauthorised Trade is intended to control growing illicit trade between India and Nepal. But, sources said, signing of the treaty might be deferred if the negotiators fail to narrow down differences.

DH News Service

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