Foreign Secy Shringla in Nepal to mend ties, holds talks

New Delhi: Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla h0lds India-Myanmar Foreign Office Consultations with Myanmar Permanent Secretary Soe Han through video conferencing from New Delhi on Oct 1, 2020. (Photo: IANS/MEA)

Kathmandu, Nov 26 (IANS) Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has started high-level meetings in Kathmandu immediately after kicking off his two-day Nepal visit on Thursday.

At a time when Nepal-India ties have hit a low due to boundary rows, Shringla’s two-day Nepal visit is expected to mend the frail ties between the two countries as well as pave way for the high-level visits and exchanges in the future that are stalled due to border disputes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Foreign Secretary-level talks between Nepal and India have concluded in Kathmandu where the two sides discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interests.

Bharat Raj, Foreign Secretary of Nepal, led the Nepali delegation while Shringla led the Indian side in the talks that touched upon the entire gamut of bilateral ties, both sides said on Twitter.

Shringla, who arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday with an aim to restore the frail ties with the Himalayan nation which have hit a nadir after boundary disputes, said that his meeting with his counterpart was very positive.

“We began with very positive discussions. We discussed how to resolve the problems between us,” Shringla told reporters.

“Shringla has had a productive meeting with Paudyal, during which they took stock of bilateral cooperation and discussed issues of mutual interest,” an Indian Embassy tweet said.

Both sides discussed and reviewed the projects undertaken by India in Nepal and expressed satisfaction over their progress, the embassy said.

“Both sides appreciated the progress made on the numerous bilateral initiatives and projects. It was agreed to take further steps to advance mutual cooperation,” the Indian Embassy said.

Later in the day, Shringla will meet Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali. On Friday, he will deliver a lecture on Nepal-India ties and will inaugurate two India-funded projects in Nepal before wrapping up his visit.

“I am going to Gorkha district to see how the reconstruction work is taking place,” he told reporters after landing in Kathmandu, keeping in tune with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vow to build 50,000 houses in Nepal.

“I am going to meet the people and inaugurate three school buildings. India had pledged $1 billion to Nepal in 2015 after an earthquake stuck the country, killing over 9,000 people. Out of that amount, Rs 25 billion was Indian aid while Rs 75 billion was soft loan. As per the commitment, India has built over 46,000 houses under the reconstruction scheme in Nepal after 2016, largely under the grant portion. Nepal and India are yet to reach an investment modality on how to use the Rs 75 billion soft loan,” Shringla said.

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