Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra meets DPM Shrestha; Discusses construction of Raxaul-Kathmandu Railway

Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Narayan Kaji Shrestha held a meeting on Tuesday.

Kwatra, who is on a two-day official visit to Nepal, paid a courtesy call on Minister Shrestha at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

During the meeting, the two discussed the proposed cross-border Kathmandu-Raxaul railway.

Similarly, according to the minister’s secretariat, the two discussed railways, treaties and agreements between Nepal and India, and projects undertaken by the Indian companies.

The train link to Raxaul, which will be between 136 and 198 kilometres long, is seen as New Delhi’s attempt to counter Chinese influence in Nepal with its northern neighbour also working on a detailed project report (DPR) for the proposed Kathmandu-Kerung Cross-Border Railway.

Nepal and India on October 7 signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on conducting a final location survey (FLS) for the proposed broad gauge railway line between the two cities. Officials said an FLS is done to prepare working details and make cost estimates.

Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra also raised the issue of contract renewal for the operation of the Jayanagar-Kurtha railway operated by an Indian company. India’s Konkan Railways Corporation Limited (KRCL) has been operating the country’s sole railway service.

The railway had come into operation in April 2022 when it was jointly flagged off by then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was considered a milestone in strengthening cross-border connectivity between Nepal and India.

Foreign Secretary Kwatra also requested Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha to speed up the construction of the access road of the Arun III hydropower project, the largest Indian-backed project in Nepal.

There was an open discussion between Shrestha and Kwatra on the issue of Nepal’s economic prosperity through bilateral talks.

This is Kwatra’s first visit to Nepal after assuming the responsibility of Foreign Secretary of India.

It is believed that the Indian Foreign Secretary’s this visit will provide an opportunity to further deepening the bilateral ties between the two South Asian close neighbours.


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