New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Nepalese counterpart Pushpakamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ today held wide-ranging talks focusing on boosting India-Nepal cooperation in several areas including energy, connectivity and trade. The Nepalese Prime Minister began his four-day visit to India on Wednesday.
It is the first bilateral trip abroad by the 68-year-old Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist) leader after he assumed the top office in December 2022. Transforming the civilisational ties between India and Nepal with deeper cooperation in areas of connectivity, economy, energy and infrastructure will be a focus area of talks between PM Modi and Prime Minister Prachanda, people familiar with the Nepalese leader’s visit to India said.
Nepal is important for India in the context of its overall strategic interests in the region, and the leaders of the two countries have often noted the age-old ‘Roti-Beti’ relationship which refers to cross-border marriages between people of the two countries. The country shares a border of over 1,850 km with five Indian states – Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Land-locked Nepal relies heavily on India for the transportation of goods and services.
Nepal’s access to the sea is through India, and it imports a predominant proportion of its requirements from and through India. The India-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 forms the bedrock of the special relations between the two countries. Nepalese Foreign Minister NP Saud, who is part of Prime Minister Prachanda’s delegation, said on Wednesday that a wide range of issues including trade, transit, connectivity and the border issues will figure in the bilateral talks.