Nepal live: Seeking to bridge trade gap, Nepal asks for more FDI, market access

07:15 pm: Increase FDI, market access to bridge trade gap: Nepal tells India

Nepal asked India to increase foreign direct investment, relax non-trade measures and allow greater market access for its products to bridge widening trade deficit.

Nepal "suggested measures to address this deficit through increased Indian FDI, relaxation of non-tariff measures including SPS standards for agro products, support in product development, relaxation of Rules of Origin requirement for duty free access of Nepalese products, and mutual recognition of standards, conformity assessment and accreditation," a joint statement said.

The statement was issued at the end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to Nepal.

In 2013-14, while India export to Nepal aggregated at $ 3.58 billion, the imports were only $ 526 million leading to trade deficit of about $ 3 billion.

The Nepali side has requested India to remove the countervailing duty on its products including readymade garments, copper, brass utensils, Kattha and others.

It has also sought removal of "Quantitative Restrictions on the four Nepalese export products--Vegetable fats, copper products, Acrylic Yarn and Zinc Oxide."

Meanwhile, India assured the Himalayan nation to consider requests.
"The Indian side also reiterated that problem of trade deficit could be best bridged by development of hydropower in Nepal and export of surplus power to India," it said.

--Updates end for August 5--

12:27 pm: You have won our hearts with your speech: Nepali President to PM Modi

Narendra Modi discussed bilateral ties with Nepali President Ram Baran Yadav.

According to IANS, Modi, in his meeting with Yadav, discussed how to further strengthen ties between the two countries. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and senior officials from India and Nepal were present at the meeting that lasted for about 15 minutes.

"You have won our hearts with your speech at the Parliament yesterday," said the Nepali president, according to NDTV.

The meeting will be followed by a vegetarian lunch, which will include some Gujarati dishes. The lunch was vegetarian since this is a Monday that falls in the traditional Sravan month.

11.30 am: Modi offers 2,500 kg of sandalwood to Pashupatinath temple

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday prayed at Pashupatinath temple here, granted Rs.25 crore to build a 'dharamshala' in the temple complex and offered 2,500 kg of sandalwood.

Wearing a saffron coloured kurta-pyjama with a shawl draped on his shoulder and forearm, Modi paid obeisance at Pashupatinath temple before leaving to meet President Ram Baran Yadav.

9.37 am: Kathmandu schools shut due to 'transportation problems'

Most educational institutions in Kathmandu were closed on Monday due to "problems in transportation management" in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to different parts of city, a daily said.

The schools will remain shut on Tuesday as well, The Himalayan Times said late on Sunday.

9:20 am: PM Modi offers prayers at Pashupatinath temple

Narendra Modi visited Pashupatinath temple in Nepal and offered prayers there during the second day of his visit to the country.

Offering prayers in the temple on Monday is considered auspicious. Modi is also expected to meet the Nepal's president Ram Baran Yadav and leaders of several political parties in the country before returning to India.

07.40 am: We will buy back power from you: Modi tells Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday pledged to end Nepal's crippling blackouts and offered to buy electricity from the country endowed with rich hydropower potential.

"Nepal can free India of its darkness with its electricity," said Modi, who on Sunday became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the neighbouring nation in 17 years.

"But we don't want free electricity, we want to buy it. Just by selling electricity to India, Nepal can find a place in the developed countries of the world," he said.

"I want to double the amount of electricity India is providing Nepal today so we have to lay the transmission lines as soon as possible," the Prime Minister said.

The two sides have also agreed to take a decision regarding Nepal India Power Trading Agreement within the next 45 days.

Updates for 3 August end

5.02 pm: PM Modi grants Nepal line credit of $1 billion 

The Indian Prime Minister made it very clear that he will try everything in his power to expedite Nepal's progress. In this goal, he has extended a line credit of 10000 crore Nepali rupees ($1 billion) to Nepal.

Apart from that, the PM voiced many changes that he wishes to see in the near future. He has extended full support to Nepal to build highways, Infoways and Transways. He also said that calling Nepal from India was an expensive affair, and both countries need to make efforts to change that.

4.27 pm: Modi addresses the Nepali Parliament

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently addressing the Nepali Parliament. The PM began his address in Nepalese, before switching to Hindi.

Modi began his address by expressing his pride in being the first guest in Nepal's Parliament and how the country has honoured India by having him as its guest.

The prime minister went on to speak about India and Nepal's friendship, which he said is as 'old as the Himalayas and the Ganga', and said that Nepal is a country of brave people. "The countries that believe in democracy are looking at Nepal with hope," he added.

Modi continued his address with speaking about the value and importance of Nepal's constitution. "The Constitution is not just a book; it connects today, yesterday and tomorrow," he said, "Constitution should be for the happiness of the people. It unites, doesn't divide."

He also said that despite several groups across the world believing in violence, it is Nepal with its Constitution that will show everyone how things can be done without a weapon. As Nepal's neighbour, Modi said India was glad to know that it is progressing towards democracy.

"If Nepal doesn't sleep in peace, neither can India. If someone in Nepal sleeps hungry, then India feels bad," he said.

The PM also said that together, the SAARC countries should come together and fight poverty, in addition to helping each other in the same cause.

3.50 pm: Call for greater land connectivity between China, India and Nepal

A former minister of Nepal has called for greater land connectivity between China, India and Nepal to raise to a new height regional cooperation between the neighbouring countries.

"Regional cooperation presupposes land connectivity in order to benefit from the economics of geography," former finance minister Madhukar S.J.B. Rana said in an interview with Xinhua.

According to data, the share of regional trade by and between South Asian nations hovers around only five percent of their total trade.

"This is a sad reality, which can only be improved upon with land connectivity supplemented by trade facilitation measures boosting beyond border actions for the carriage and storage of exports and imports," Rana said.

The last decade has seen a number of policy initiatives and resultant infrastructure projects targeted towards increasing land connectivity at bilateral, trilateral and sub-regional levels.

The idea, said Rana, is not to just simply establish "transport" corridors but "economic corridors". Economic corridors are broader in scope and entail physical planning of not just the corridor but the surrounding areas as well to attract businesses, special economic and industrial zones.

"The purpose of economic corridors is to integrate the economies subregionally by creating growth triangles, quadrangles and so forth between two or more nations," Rana said.

Power equations and deficit of trust among shareholders remain significant factors acting as impediments to greater trans-Himalayan connectivity.

2.55 pm: Modi gets down to business, holds one-on-one talks with PM Koirala

Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala met for one-on-one discussions which a cabinet source told IANS would cover a range of issues including bilateral and regional matters.

Delegation level talks between the two countries began after their 30-minute meet and Modi quickly got down to business after his arrival.

Modi expressed his commitment to extend all possible support for Nepal's socio-economic development and expressed his commitment to further consolidate exchanges and interactions between the people of the two countries.

2.41: Modi offers condolences at Nepal's landslide tragedy

Prime Minister Modi offered his condolences after a landslide killed at least eight people in Nepal.

The disaster hurled huge amounts of mud and rocks blocking the Bhotekoshi river Saturday. A small village was buried and at least 150 people were reported missing. After the landslide, the river formed a large lake in Sindhupalchowk district, about 60 km from Kathmandu.

Modi's statement came shortly after his arrival here on a two-day visit, Nepal foreign ministry said.

On his part, Nepali Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey voiced sorrow over the deaths and destruction in a landslide near Pune.

 

1.25 pm:  Modi's 'dharamputra' Jeet bahadur reunited with family in Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Nepali godson or 'dharamputra' who accompanied the Prime Minister on his official visit to the country, has been reunited with his family. A tweet from MEA secretary Syed Akbaruddin showed a picture of the Prime Minister posing for a picture with Jeet Bahadur and his family.

https://twitter.com/MEAIndia/status/495820274097352704

A series of tweets from Modi has revealed that he would be taking a boy he has been supporting for years back to his parents.

"...Long back, I met a young, helpless boy named Jeet Bahadur who had no idea about his whereabouts and also did not understand language properly... Inspired by the almighty, I started worrying about his future and soon he developed an interest in studies and also started understanding Gujarati...," Modi said.

Some time back, he managed to find Bahadur's parents and said it was all possible because the boy has six toes on his feet.

"I am glad that I will hand over their son to them tomorrow (Sunday)," he added.

11.00 am: Narendra Modi lands in Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has landed in Nepal. His special chartered aircraft landed in Kathmandu airport.Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, senior ministers and the Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae received him at the airport.

He will holds talks with Koirala later today.

The government of Nepal presented a guard of honour for Modi, leading a 112 member delegation which includes key ministers, senior government officials, business leaders as well as journalists.

10.14 am: Modi to land in Nepal shortly

Narendra Modi, accompanied by a 101-member delegation including seven ministers, will arrive in Nepal shortly on a two-day visit, making it the first bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister to this Himalayan nation in 17 years.

Both countries are scheduled to discuss a range of bilateral relations and some agreements are likely to be inked, including in the field of hydropower.

Nepal is the second neighbouring country Modi is visiting after Bhutan in June.

 Nepal live: Seeking to bridge trade gap, Nepal asks for more FDI, market access

AFP

Meanwhile, in what is being seen as a major diplomatic push, Modi said he was "excited" about the visit.

"I am excited about my visit and pleased that I am able to go there within weeks of assuming office as prime minister," Modi said in a pre-departure statement. "My visit reflects our shared heritage of nature, history, culture, spiritualism and religion. It highlights the high priority that my government attaches to our relations with Nepal and our determination to take our relationship to an entirely new level," he said.

Foreign policy analysts have said that the focus on Nepal is significant, and have suggested that this is Modi's way of mitigating China's steadily growing influence in the country.

This could perhaps explain the timing of the visit, which coincides with international friendship day!

The last bilateral visit by an Indian prime minister to Nepal was by I.K. Gujral in June 1997. Indian prime ministers have gone to Nepal but as part of multilateral visits.

Modi, who will also be accompanied by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval as well as captains of industry, will be the first foreign leader to address the Nepalese constituent assembly-cum-parliament Sunday.

Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, who was in New Delhi during Modi's swearing-in ceremony, will receive the Indian prime minister at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

10.00 am: Who is Modi's Nepali godson?

A series of tweets from Modi has revealed that he would be taking a boy he has been supporting for years back to his parents when he visits Nepal today.

"...Long back, I met a young, helpless boy named Jeet Bahadur who had no idea about his whereabouts and also did not understand language properly... Inspired by the almighty, I started worrying about his future and soon he developed an interest in studies and also started understanding Gujarati...," Modi said.

Some time back, he managed to find Bahadur's parents and said it was all possible because the boy has six toes on his feet.
"I am glad that I will hand over their son to them tomorrow (Sunday)," he added.

Your guide to the latest cricket World Cup stories, analysis, reports, opinions, live updates and scores on https://www.firstpost.com/firstcricket/series/icc-cricket-world-cup-2019.html. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates throughout the ongoing event in England and Wales.

Updated Date: Aug 05, 2014 07:28:05 IST