India for cooperation in hydropower

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    KATHMANDU, March 3: India has said that it is ready to cooperate with Nepal for the development of hydropower projects.

    Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh made the request to his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala during their meeting on the sidelines of BIMSTEC meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Monday.

    According to Nepal’s ambassador to Myanmar Paras Ghimire, Singh said that hydropower development could be a key to Nepal’s prosperity. “We always stand ready to expand cooperation in the development of hydropower projects,” Ghimire, who accompanied Koirala, quoted Indian prime minister as saying.

    Singh congratulated Koirala for being elected the prime minister after successful election to the Constituent Assembly on November 19, 2013. He also expressed hope that Nepal would move forward in the path of peace and prosperity after the democratically held elections.

    During the meeting, Koirala asked his Indian counterpart to help reduce Nepal’s ballooning trade deficit with India. In response, the Indian side had expressed willingness to take every possible measure to help reduce the widening trade deficit.

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    According to ambassador Ghimire, the Indian side also conveyed that they are ready to hand over the Trauma Center being built under Indian assistance in Kathmandu any time soon. Both the countries have agreed to give continuity to the ongoing construction of postal roads across Tarai.

    The meeting between the two prime ministers also dwelled on the proposed visit of Indian Prime Minister Singh to Nepal. However, Singh was ‘non-committal’ in his response and cited the upcoming general election in India.

    Though Singh asked Koirala to pay official visit to India anytime soon, Koirala said it would be good if the Indian prime minister visited Nepal as it has already been several years since a sitting Indian prime minister made a visit to Nepal, according to Ghimire.

    Koirala, who reached Myanmar on Monday morning, also held a meeting with Bhutanese Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay in the afternoon. Tobgay congratulated Koirala for his election as the prime minister. “Since we share many common things we have many new things to learn from you,” Ghimire quoted Tobgay as saying to Koirala.

    Koirala called for an early resolution to the Bhutanese refugee problem and stated that the repatriation of Bhutanese refugees to Bhutan with full dignity and honor is the lasting solution to this issue.

    Though Koirala asked Tobgay to help repatriate Bhutanese refugees living in various parts of eastern Nepal, Bhutanese side did not comment on the request.

    Koirala was received at the Nay Pyi Taw International Airport by Union Minister for Labor Employment and Social Security of the Government of Myanmar Aye Myint Monday morning. Koirala is scheduled to address the third BIMSTEC Summit on Tuesday. He will also be holding meetings with Sri Lankan president, Myanmar president and Bangladeshi counterpart on Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, addressing the 14th ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC on Monday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey emphasized on harnessing the tremendous potential of BIMSTEC region by engaging in meaningful cooperation and partnership in the areas of priority. He also focused on the need for making regional cooperation more effective and fruitful, according to MoFA statement.

    The meeting deliberated on various issues relating to priority areas identified under BIMSTEC cooperation and decided to further enhance regional cooperation and collaboration on those areas. The meeting also appointed Sri Lankan candidate Sumith Nakandala as the first secretary general of the BIMSTEC Secretariat to be established in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

    Source : Republica