As Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal prepares to travel to India next week, the two sides have entered the final stage of negotiations, discussing draft agreements to be signed and announced during the visit as well as the text of the joint communiqué that would conclude his visit, according to Nepal media reports.
More than half a dozen agreements and Memoranda of understanding will be signed. The agreements will likely include subscribing to a digital payment mode that would ease cross-border payments using e-wallet and building of bridges in Chandani-Dodhara and the Jhulaghat areas across the Mahakali River in Kanchanpur and Darchula districts respectively, if it’s agreed to by both sides.
“Nepal is also seeking Murrah buffalos from India,” an official at the Ministry of Agriculture said. “There is no agreement on the number, but negotiations are underway,” he added.
A further extension of the India-funded petroleum pipeline inside Nepali territory, construction of integrated check posts in Bhairahawa, Chandani-Dodhara and Nepalgunj, developing the Phukot-Karnali hydroelectric plant with an installed capacity of 480 megawatts, handover of the new 17-km expanded railway line to Bijalpura in the Jayanagar-Kurtha-Bijalpura-Bardibas railway section could also be announced during the state visit, officials said.
There will be an agreement on a new petroleum pipeline to be constructed from Siliguri to Jhapa and storage facilities and extension of present Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline to Lothar, Chitwan.
Talks are on to receive the Biratnagar-Bathnaha (India) railway line, said the ministry officials. Besides handing over these two railway lines, “The Indian side is also expected to share the detailed project report of the Raxaul-Kathmandu railway for our consideration,” the ministry of transportation official said.
“On the air entry route via the Indian skies to facilitate international flights at the Bhairahawa international airport, officials on both sides are working on some alternatives. There could be some development by the end of the visit,” an official at the Ministry of Culture, Civil Aviation and Tourism said.
The Nepali side is also pitching for long-term energy trading with India where the Nepal Electricity Authority doesn’t have to take approval for the trade with India on a piecemeal basis, the official at the energy ministry said. There is also a proposal on the table regarding the amendment in Nepal-India Bilateral Transit Treaty and officials hope that an agreement on it can be reached before the joint communiqué is made public.