KATHMANDU, April 26
India should join hands with Nepal and China to begin broader regional economic cooperation, Nepali experts said Friday, a day before UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is scheduled to visit India.
The remarks came as common response from Nepalese economic sector to Indian External Affairs minister Salman Khursid’s opinion regarding Prachanda’s proposal of trilateral cooperation between India, Nepal and China. Talking with visiting media persons in New Delhi earlier Tuesday, Indian minister Khursid was quoted as saying, “it may be too early to be working on it.”
“It seems India is hesitant to work with Nepal and China on proposed Karnali Chisapani (10,800 MW) project because India itself will be one of the consumers of produced energy,” Deependra Bahadur Kshetry, former vice chairperson of Nepal’s National Planning Commission told Xinhua.
The idea of tripartite cooperation in the area of Nepal’s infrastructure development, especially on Karnali Chisapani (10, 800 MW) hydroelectric project was floated by Prachanda during his April 14-20 China visit. Prachanda is likely to raise this issue with the Indian leadership during his upcoming visit to New Delhi.
Rameswor Khanal, chief economic advisor to former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was surprised by the Indian minister’s reaction because India has been demanding that Nepal should be a transit for its products to be exported to China.
“I don’t know in what context Mr. Khursid gave his expression but India will get equal benefit should the two rising economies invest in hydropower projects in Nepal,” Khanal told Xinhua.
Each country may have its own security concerns and if that is the only issue, that can be mitigated through good homework. However, prospects of trilateral cooperation in the areas of business, industry, services and traded must not ruled out, he said.
As India has listed ‘electricity’ as one of the restricted commodities in its import list, there are many hurdles against export of electricity from Nepal’s mega hydropower projects.
However, the president of Independent Power Producers’ Association of Nepal (IPPAN), Dr. Suwarna Das Shrestha urged the government to carry out proper homework to sign an umbrella power trade agreement (PTA) with India.
“Once Nepal and India have a detail PTA in commercial terms, it will be a cornerstone for further investment in Nepal’s hydropower sector,” said Dr. Shrestha. The PTA should cover the issues of cross border transmission lines, environmental issues and above all the quantity of electricity to be exchanged within.
Moreover, as both China and India are huge markets for each other, they could harness larger benefits through producing and exporting several items from Nepal, enjoying the duty free trade facility Nepal offers.
Source : Xinhua