Modi and Oli agree to boost India-Nepal ties in defence, connectivity, trade

Trying to reset the bilateral ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oil on Saturday held wide-ranging talks and agreed to step up two-way engagement in key areas of defence and security, connectivity, trade and agriculture.

After the talks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India will always stand by Nepal in its quest for all-round growth, asserting that deeper cooperation between the neighbours will strengthen democracy in Nepal.

On his part, Oli, who is seen a leader who wants to develop closer relationship with China, said his government wants to build a strong edifice of “trust-based” relationship between the two nations.

“I have come to India with an aim to enhance our relations to newer heights commensurate with the realities of the 21st century,” he said.

Known for his pro-China stance, 65-year-old Oli had taken charge as Nepal’s PM in February for a second time. He had earlier served as the Nepal’s prime minister from 2015 to 2016 during which Kathmandu’s ties with New Delhi had strained.

In a press statement to media along with Oli, Modi said the Nepalese PM’s vision for a “prosperous Nepal and developed Nepal” was in sync with his vision of “sabka sath sabka vikas’ (together with all, development for all).

Modi also hailed successful conduct of national and provincial polls in Nepal and complimented its people for reposing their faith in the democracy.

The prime minister said India will continue to support Nepal according to that country’s priorities, adding both sides have agreed to expedite all connectivity projects.

Modi also said the two countries agreed on laying a new railway line to link Kathmandu with India.

The prime minister said both sides will enhance defence and security ties.

“We have strong relations when it comes to the aspect of security. We will work together to stop misuse of our open border,” Modi said.

Oli also invited Modi to visit Nepal.

“I invited PM Modi to pay a visit to Nepal at the earliest convenient time, I am hopeful that the visit will take place soon,” he said.

Modi said there has been a long history of India’s contribution towards Nepal’s development and that he has assured Oli that it will continue.

He said India will also help Nepal to link the country with waterways, adding both sides will also boost ties in areas of agriculture.

The Nepalese prime minister said his country needs support from its friends adding “relations among neighbours is different from other relations. This is based on mutual respect.”

Oli arrived in New Delhi on Friday on a three-day visit, his first overseas tour after taking charge as Nepal’s PM for the second term.

Oli, who had publicly criticised New Delhi for interfering in Nepal’s internal matters and accused it of toppling his government, after his sweeping poll victory said his party would forge a partnership with India to move forward the country towards the path of economic prosperity.

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