India-Nepal EAM meet focuses on economic partnership

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is greeted by Nepal's Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli during a meeting, in Kathmandu (PTI Photo)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Gyawali have reviewed bilateral ties with special focus on connectivity and economic partnership, officials said here on Thursday.

The two leaders also discussed matters related to cooperation in international, regional and sub-regional fora at the 5th Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting, which concluded here on Wednesday, a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nepal said.

"The fifth Meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations with a specific focus on the areas of connectivity and economic partnership, trade and transit, power and water resources, culture and education," it said

The two ministers emphasised on enhancing cooperation in the tourism sector, particularly in the context of Visit Nepal Year 2020 that aims to attract two million visitors, the statement said.

Established in 1987, the Nepal-India Joint Commission meetings are being held alternately in Nepal and India. The last meeting of the Commission was held in New Delhi in October 2016.

During the meeting, views were also exchanged on the review of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 and submission of report of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations, the statement said.

"The Joint Commission expressed happiness at the progress made in the bilateral projects, such as Motihari-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Products Pipeline, four segments of Hulaki Roads, and post-earthquake reconstruction of private housing in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts which have been completed," it said.

Both the sides also expressed satisfaction over the progress made in the Jayanagar-Janakpur and Jogbani-Biratnagar sections of the cross-border railway projects and the Integrated Check Post in Biratnagar.

"The Joint Commission also noted with satisfaction the progress made in three new areas agreed during the visit of Prime Minister Oli to India in April 2018, namely, Raxaul-Kathmandu Electrified Rail Line, Inland Waterways and New Partnership in Agriculture," the statement said.

The two sides also agreed to an early conclusion of the review of treaties and agreements related to the trade, transit and rail services. They also agreed to continue upgrading and maintenance of infrastructure and logistic facilities at major border crossing-points for facilitating trade and transit between the two countries.

Noting that inundation is a serious problem for people living in border areas, the Joint Commission underlined the need to address inundation issues mainly due to the inadequate drainage provision that obstructs the natural flow of water in border areas. 

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