Modi to strengthen trade ties with Nepal

August 03, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said he would try to identify steps to strengthen cooperation in energy, trade and investment between India and Nepal in his talks with Nepalese leaders.

“We will identify steps to strengthen our bilateral cooperation in key sectors, including trade and investment, hydro power, agriculture and agro-processing, environment, tourism, education, culture and sports,” Modi said in a statement ahead of his two-day visit beginning today.

The prime minister also said he would discuss with the Nepalese leadership and business leaders “how we can harness the full potential of the new digital age to empower and create new opportunities for the youth of the two countries.”

Modi’s trip will be the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister to Nepal in 17 years, after IK Gujral had travelled there in June 1997.

The prime minister will hold talks with his counterpart Sushil Koirala and address that country’s Constituent Assembly, only the second foreign leader after former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who had done it in the early 1990s.

He will also address the Nepalese business community.

India Inc has welcomed the strengthening of business ties between the two countries.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) expressed the hope that the visit would add momentum to Indo-Nepalese trade and investment ties.

“Indo-Nepal ties evoke a rich tapestry of relations framed by trade and investment, culture and robust people-to-people contacts”.

“There are six million Nepalese working in India and there are 600,000 Indians who have made Nepal their home. We need to harness this by exploring the untapped potential in hydropower, tourism, agriculture and food processing towards mutually beneficial economic growth and development,” said Jyotsna Suri, senior vice-president, FICCI.