Nepal Seeks Air Route: India Positive on Bhairahawa Airport, Silent on Pokhara

India’s reluctance to provide an air route to Pokhara Regional International Airport, which was built with a Chinese loan, has raised concerns and sparked discussions during a program organized by the Indian Embassy in Pokhara on Wednesday.

The occasion marked the celebration of Yoga Day, where Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava, remained tight-lipped regarding the matter.

During the event, Sudan Kirati, Minister of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation, approached Ambassador Srivastava to request an air route for Pokhara International Airport. Minister Kirati emphasized the importance of assistance in ensuring the smooth operation of the airport and appealed for the initiation of direct flights connecting various cities in India to Pokhara.

However, much to the disappointment of the attendees, Ambassador Srivastava did not address the air route issue. Instead, he redirected the focus by stating that the majority of Indian tourists currently visit Pokhara. He emphasized that Indian tourists continue to travel to Pokhara from different regions of India.

Interestingly, Earlier on Tuesday, in a event held in Lumbini to commemorate Yoga Day, Ambassador Srivastava expressed India’s willingness to provide an air route to Bhairahawa Airport. He acknowledged India’s positive stance toward facilitating air connectivity to Bhairahawa Airport in the Lumbini program but refrained from discussing the provision of an air route to Pokhara.

This contrasting response from the Indian Ambassador has raised eyebrows and led to speculation about the reasons behind India’s reluctance to grant an air route to Pokhara. Some experts believe that the Chinese loan subsidy used for the construction of the airport may be a key factor influencing India’s decision.

The Pokhara Regional International Airport, situated in the scenic city of Pokhara, holds immense potential to boost tourism and economic development in the region. As one of the major tourist destinations in Nepal, Pokhara attracts visitors from around the world, including a significant number of Indian tourists.


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