Soon, new rail line to connect India and Kathmandu, says PM Modi

Manmohan Singh Rahul Gandhi meet Nepal PM Oli

India, Nepal tout 'strong relations'

Oli is on a three-day visit to India.

After months of stress in ties, India and Nepal on Saturday agreed to crank-up cooperation in connectivity, trade, agriculture and border security as Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave an assurance that New Delhi remains committed to strengthening the partnership as per Nepal's priorities.

Known for his pro-China stance, 65-year-old Oli had taken charge as Nepal's PM in February for a second time.

India and Nepal ties were at odds previous year when Indian origin Madhesi population were running a campaign for their rights. India extended a $1 billion credit line to Nepal for infrastructure development in 2015. Then after that, PM Modi invited him to visit India while he congratulated him over the phone for his win. "We believe that enhanced connectivity between our countries will boost our economic growth and benefit our citizens". He spoke about his expectations from Nepal and how he hopes to receive co operation from the neighbouring country, India. Nepal has not allowed its land to be used against the sovereign interests of India. He also said India is going to put more emphasis on the issue of connectivity between both the countries by upgrading rail and road links.

The proposal to link Raxaul to Kathamandu gains significance as it comes almost two years after China, in March 2016, agreed to construct a strategic railway link with Nepal through Tibet with an apparent aim of reducing Kathmandu's dependence on India.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi listening, Nepal Prime Minister K P Oli on Saturday said he wanted to build a strong edifice of "trust-based" relationship between the two countries.

In his comments, Oli mentioned about the enormous impact this additional connectivity would have on the growth of business and economy of Nepal.

Today he was accorded an elaborate traditional and ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Gokhale insisted China's growing footprint in Nepal was not discussed as the talks were focused on the bilateral relationship with some reference to regional issues, with Oli flagging the stalled Saarc process and the BBIN (Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal) initiative for vehicular movement across the subcontinent.

Speaking at the India Foundation event here, Oli said, "We are a country in between two big neighbours. We will work together to stop misuse of our open border", he said.

The Foreign Secretary said that Prime Minister Oli extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to pay an early visit to Nepal which was accepted by Mr. Modi. They are more developed and more advanced than us. They rest on principles of equality and justice.

Oli had met Modi at the Indian prime minister's official residence in a "courtesy meeting" on Friday evening, which lasted about 90 minutes, The Himalayan Times reported. This came after acrimony between India and Nepal over its 2015 constitution that seemed to marginalise some 51% of the country's population and bestow extra political rights and privileges on the hill tribes constituting 49% of the population.

Viewed as an important visit, Oli has flew in a 54-member high-level delegation to India, seeking more investment from India's public as well as private sector.

Latest News