PM Narendra Modi announces $1 billion as concessional line of credit to Nepal

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced $1 billion (NRs 10,000 crore) as concessional line of credit to Nepal and proposed a "HIT" formula for the development of the land-locked country endowed with rich hydropower potential.

Modi, while addressing Nepal Constituent Assembly, said, "India has decided to provide Nepal with NRs 10,000 crore (USD 1 billion) as concessional line of credit for various development purposes."

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Modi promises to extend $1 billion as concessional line of credit to Nepal. PTI

"This amount is separate from the previous assistance that India has already provided to Nepal," Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in 17 years, said.

Earlier, India had provided USD 250 million line of credit to Nepal through the Exim Bank of India.

The new grant will be utilised for infrastructure development and energy projects as per Nepal's priority, according to Nepalese Foreign Ministry.

Proposing a model development formula for Nepal, Modi said, "I want to HIT Nepal", drawing wide applause from the lawmakers.

Elaborating his strategy, Modi said HIT in his lexicon implies - H:Highways, I:I-ways and T:Transways.

He said these three combined together would pave the way for rapid development of the country and India wants to "give this gift at the earliest".

This is the second time a foreign leader was addressing the Nepalese Constituent Assembly. Earlier in 1990, the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had delivered a keynote speech to the Constituent Assembly.

He said Nepal has abundant potential for developing its hydropower sector and for this purpose India is committed to establish transmission lines for the export and import of electricity.

"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, adding India wants to buy electricity from Nepal.

"This is my notion of hitting Nepal and you too would agree that it soon becomes a hit," he said.

Striking an optimistic note, Modi said "for now we will remove darkness here and a decade later Nepal will come to our help. This is our bonding".

He said borders between the two nations should not be a barrier, but act as bridges so that both can develop.

He said India and Nepal ties are as old as Himalayas and Ganga. The two countries share close cultural relationship.

He said India welcomes and respects the aspirations of a Nepalese Federal Democratic Republic.

He said Nepal is a truly sovereign nation.

"It is not our job to interfere in your internal affairs but to assist you in the path you have chosen," he said.

"Being your neighbour and seeing our experience as a democracy we feel happy at the direction in which you are going. Our only wish is that Nepal's progress reaches as high as the Himalayas," he said.

Praising the contribution of Gurkha soldiers in India's defence, Modi said India has won no war without the sacrifices by Nepalese soldiers.

"I salute those brave hearts who laid their lives for India," he said.

Invoking Sam Manekshaw, the first field marshal in the Indian army, Modi said, "Any soldier who says I am not afraid of death would either be lying or Gurkha."

Modi said he is honoured to address Nepal's Constituent Assembly and this is an honour for 1.2 billion Indian people.

PTI

Updated Date: Aug 03, 2014 20:41:08 IST