Modi in mood to solve all problems on Nepal-India relations: PM Prachanda

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ is wrapping up his four-day official visit to India and returning home today.

During his visit, he held a one-to-one meeting with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi; and attended the bilateral delegation-level talks where various agreements and memorandums of understanding were signed- ranging from power trade and interstate transmission lines.

Talking to the National News Agency (RSS) reporter together with an entourage, Ramesh Lamsal, PM Prachanda informed that both prime ministers from Nepal and India agreed to further enhance the bilateral relations based on equality, mutual respect and trust. Here is what PM Prachanda shared in response to questions put forth by RSS correspondent Lamsal about the visit.

Question: Honourable PM, how do you evaluate your India visit?     

Answer: Comparatively, this visit is more fruitful than the previous ones, having a long-term impact and focused on Nepal’s national interest. Chiefly, I believe this visit has been successful to give a positive message to foster economic activities.

Question: What are the bases for success in a visit?

Answer: First, I had an open and frank discussion with my Indian counterpart Modi which created an atmosphere of trust. I had a one-to-one talk once with him. This must have built trust.

Secondly, this time, the discussion was held substantively for solving border problems forever. Before myself, Indian PM Modi spoke in the joint press meeting that border problems should be resolved. His view of Nepal-India relations should be taken to a new height in the Himalayas, which gives a new message.

Question: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he will make Nepal-India relations ‘super-hit’ and raise them as high as the Himalayas. What could it potentially mean?

Answer: Modi in his first official visit as the Indian Prime Minister in 2014 had discussed the Nepal-India relations using the meaning of ‘hit’. The ‘HIT’ has not gained remarkable momentum as expected in between. It occurs to me that Modi mentioned making Nepal-India ties a ‘Super hit’ linking this word with his then successful visit.

It could also mean that Nepal-India relations should be taken to a greater height. To my understanding, the use of two words ‘super’ and ‘hit’ reflects the state of mind of the Indian Prime Minister that now all the issues between Nepal and India be resolved with great confidence.

It is a huge thing that both countries have reached the same level of understanding that the border-related issues should not be stalled but rather be resolved.

When Prime Minister Modi and I held talks, even the issues on the resolution of border problems between India and Bangladesh had come. PM Modi himself admitted that they achieved success in resolving the border issues after extensive ‘hard work’ and ‘homework.’

The border issue between Nepal-India should not be kept protracted. Instead, it should be resolved. Bangladesh model could be an opportunity. There could be another opportunity as well.

Based on the facts and statistics of the history, the matter would be resolved if India leaves the territory claimed by Nepal as its own. Another thing is the practice of swapping land if there were complexities in many places. But we have not formally entered these alternatives yet.

Some border experts in Nepal have suggested that border problems could be resolved if India gives Nepal access to Bangladesh, but it was not talked formally with India.

The level of commitment towards the resolution of border issues between the two countries has reached another height.

Question: Some important decisions have been made regarding power trade with India. Have we enabled the situation to generate 10,000 MW of electricity within 10 years and sell them?

Answer: One question has been raised in the minds of investors and Nepali experts for a long time Nepal has been producing electricity but in an uncertain market, what happens if we only produce electricity but there is no market?

Nepal wants to have a long-term trade agreement with India and an agreement towards this end has been entered with India this time.

PM Modi himself clearly announced that India will purchase 10,000 MW of electricity within 10 years. Formality towards this end will be completed within a few days. It’s a huge achievement.

The problem of investors facing issues due to uncertainty of market for the electricity is no longer a case. I think we could now get into power generation at a fast pace.

Whatever the case, the agreement is an important one in terms of Nepal’s long-term national interest. I believe that it will give new momentum to Nepal’s economy.

Nepal and India jointly declared that DPR for the Pancheshwor Multipurpose Project will be prepared within three months and the modality would be prepared within a year. The process has been initiated to take forward the Project stalled for nearly 26 years in a new manner. It is a matter of happiness for Nepal.

Whatever the consensus forged among Nepal, India and Bangladesh for power trade, all have agreed on the same. It plays an important role in the power trade sector of Nepal. It is another important achievement in the interest of Nepal.

Question: The implementation of the announcement of buying 10,000 MW of electricity in 10 years in India is doubted. How will it proceed?’

Answer: No need to doubt at all because it was announced in a press meeting organised after official talks between the two Prime Ministers. It will be our weakness to doubt on the announcement made by the powerful leader, Indian Prime Minister Modi. It will move ahead at any cost.

Question: Nepal raised the issue of air entry routes. What was discussed in this regard?

Answer: Nepal had been raising the issue of air entry routes since early times and I sent the concerned Ministry and officials to Delhi to hold a discussion on this end. At least one route for direct international flights except Simara was requested. An agreement to allow aircraft to fly from low altitudes has made a good signal, though it has not addressed Nepal’s necessities and wishes. We will get approval for a high-altitude additional entry route from Mahendranagar or Nepalgunj. India is positive towards it.

Question: You visited the cleanest city in India, Indore. You enquired about the practices related to waste management. Waste management is seen as a challenging issue in Nepal. Can Nepal learn something from it?

Answer: “Indore is enlisted as the cleanest city in India. We visited Indore with the objective of learning something about waste management. There are many things we have to learn from it. The main thing is the government’s commitment. Madhyapradesh government and Indore municipality’s commitment and effort to make Indore clean is significant. It is important to create awareness that every person should work hard to make the city clean.

Question: Is there anything more to share with Nepali people about the achievements of India’s visit?

Answer: I feel that this India visit has long-term and strategic meaning and importance. In Nepal, everything is seen negatively and suspiciously. But, I feel, all should focus their attention to expedite development, prosperity and economic activities without politically inflating the issue. In this sense, this visit has become historic.


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