Nepalese PM Sher Bahadur Deuba hails India for aid during Covid-19 pandemic

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New Delhi: Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba extended his thanks to India for medical and economic assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla informed on Saturday.

Shringla was addressing a special briefing on the three-day visit of the Nepal Prime Minister to India that began on Friday.

“PM Deuba thanked India for standing by Nepal during the Covid pandemic and supporting the country with the supply of essential vaccines, liquid medical oxygen, medicines and equipment,” the Foreign Secretary said talking about the meeting between the Nepalese Prime Minister and Narendra Modi.

“He (PM Deuba) also appreciated efforts to keep the bilateral ties and supply chains running unhindered during the peak of the pandemic,” Foreign Secretary added.

The Foreign Secretary also mentioned the economic relations between the two countries, as well as the India-assisted projects in Nepal.

“Despite the pandemic, there have been many meetings, various bilateral mechanisms, and trade and commerce continue to flow… Indian assisted projects in Nepal also have made steady progress,” Shringla said.

The Nepal PM had earlier during his meeting with PM Modi had hailed India’s Covid-19 response.

“I admire the progress that India is making under the visionary leadership of PM Modi. We’ve seen India’s effective management in battling Covid-19 and Nepal received the first vaccine aid from India as well as medicines, medical equipment and logistics to combat the virus,” he had said.

Foreign Secretary Shringla also elaborated on the other aspects of the discussion between the countries, as well as the significance of the ongoing visit.

“The two Prime Ministers held wide-ranging discussions marked by warmth and cordiality. The two leaders reviewed the entire spectrum of the bilateral agenda between India and Nepal covering political, economic, trade, energy security and developmental issues,” Shringla said.

The two leaders also briefly discussed the boundary dispute between India and Nepal, with an understanding that such issues need to be solved through dialogue and deliberations, and politicisation of the boundary issue needs to be avoided.

“There was a general understanding that both sides needed to address this in a responsible manner through discussion and dialogue in the spirit of our close and friendly relations and politicisation of such issues need to be avoided,” Shringla said.

The visit of PM Deuba led to several positive outcomes in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries including cooperation in the power sector, the Launch of the RuPay card in Nepal, technical cooperation in railways including the launch of the first cross-border passenger train service between India’s Jayanagar and Nepal’s Kurtha, and Nepal joining the International Solar Alliance, Foreign Secretary informed.

Yesterday, Nepal Prime Minister met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla in the national capital.

Earlier, he met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President JP Nadda at the party headquarters in a courtesy meeting.

The last Head of State/Head of Government-level visit from Nepal was in May 2019, when then PM K P Oli visited India for the swearing-in ceremony of PM Narendra Modi and the Union Council of Ministers. Before that PM Modi had visited Nepal in August 2018 for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu, which was preceded by a State Visit to Nepal in May 2018.

PM Modi had extended a congratulatory message to Sher Bahadur Deuba soon after he won the Vote of Confidence in Nepal’s Parliament. This was followed by a congratulatory telephonic conversation on 19 July 2021. The most recent meeting between PM Modi and Sher Bahadur Deuba took place on November 2, 2021, on the sidelines of COP 26 in Glasgow.

Sher Bahadur Deuba is a veteran politician of the Nepali Congress with a political career spanning over seven decades. This is Deuba’s fifth tenure as PM. His first term was from September 1995 to March 1997.

He has visited India several times, both when in and out of power. This will be his fifth visit to India as PM, with the last visit being in August 2018. The previous three visits took place in 2004, 2002 and 1996.

(This is an ANI story. Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by News24.)

first published:April 2, 2022, 6:10 p.m.

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