Nepal forms panel to discuss energy cooperation with China; agreement might end dependency on India

Kathmandu: The Nepal government has formed a committee to hold talks with China to implement a key bilateral agreement on energy cooperation, which could potentially end the land-locked nation's decades-long dependency on India for its power needs.

Nepal and China had signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Energy Cooperation during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to Beijing in June.

File image of Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. Reuters

File image of Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli. Reuters

Nepal, which used to import its entire energy needs from India, turned to China in 2015, after facing crippling oil supply shortages following the economic blockade at the Indo-Nepal border by agitating ethnic Madhesis.

The Madhesis, who are Indian-origin inhabitants of the Terai region bordering India, alleged that Nepal's new constitution promulgated by the then government did not give them sufficient political representation.

At the height of the economic blockade, which triggered a wave of anti-India sentiments in the country, Nepal began strengthening ties with China, courting infrastructure investments and signing deals on energy.

"To implement the MoU with China, Energy Secretary Anup Kumar Upadhyay has been appointed as the co-chair of the seven-member committee. The panel includes representatives from Nepal Electricity Authority and the Energy Ministry as its members," officials said.

"The committee meeting, which will be held in Kathmandu on 27 September and 28 September, will deliberate on energy cooperation and progress on investment exchange in the sector," they said.

The committee will prepare the ground for creating a conducive environment to promote investment in the energy development from both government and private sectors.

Nepal had signed a similar energy cooperation agreement with Bangladesh also earlier in August.

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Updated Date: Aug 22, 2018 19:48:18 IST

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