India, Nepal sign nine agreements

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) India and Nepal on Saturday signed nine agreements following delegation-level talks led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli.

“India and Nepal exchange nine agreements for partnership and progress,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

These include agreements on utilisation of Indian grant of $250 million for post-earthquake reconstruction, improving of road infrasxtructure in Nepal’s Terai area, cultural cooperation, transit between Nepal and Bagladesh through Kakarbitta-Banglabandh corridor, operationalisation of Vishakapatnam port and rail transport to and from Vishakapatnam.

The visit of Oli, who arrived here on Friday, is the first bilateral visit by a prime minister from the Himalayan nation since 2011 when Baburam Bhattarai visited India.

In 2014, then prime minister Sushil Koirala visited India for the swearing-in ceremony of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

In August 2014, Modi paid a bilateral visit to Nepal, the first by an Indian prime minister in 17 years.

Modi again went in November 2014 for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) summit in Kathmandu.

Earlier on Saturday, Oli was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he inspected a guard of honour.

Following this, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on the visiting dignitary.

During the meeting, Oli told Sushma Swaraj that India and Nepal have a natural and civilisational relationship, according to Swarup.

Oli’s visit assumes significance as ties between the two South Asian neighbours in the last few months soured after the adoption of a new constitution in the Himalayan nation sparked violent protests in the country’s southern plains.

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