Amid Beijing-Kathmandu bonhomie, India hosts Nepal President

Amid China’s increasing forays in South Asia and its deepening relations with Kathmandu, Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari is in India this week on a five-day visit (April 17-21) that provides an opportunity to both sides to address each other’s concerns on a number of issues that shadow bilateral ties.
Mrs Bhandari, the first woman president of Nepal, will hold talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, who had visited Kathmandu in November last year, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to explore ways to expand cooperation between the two fraternal neighbours. Mrs Bhandari’s visit comes in the backdrop of “intensified bilateral engagements” and these exchanges have been “immensely useful” in ensuring steady progress in co-operative ties across diverse sectors, said Sudhakar Dalela, joint secretary in charge of Nepal in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, ahead of the Nepal president’s visit. The canvas of India-Nepal ties, rooted in robust cultural and people-to-people ties, encompasses he entire spectrum, including trade, economic investment, water resources, energy sector including power trading, defence and security, oil and gas sector.

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With China on mind, fresh fuel to India-Nepal energy ties

With China at the back of its mind, India has agreed to deepen energy ties by renewing its fuel sale deal with Nepal by another five years and assist the Himalayan country in implementing a cooking gas-for-the-poor scheme akin to the one launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh.

As per the agreement signed in New Delhi on March 27 by Indian Oil Corp. and Nepal Oil Corp. in the presence of Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and Nepal’s Minister for Supplies Deepak Bohara, the state-owned Indian energy giant will supply about 1.3 million tonnes of fuel every year for the next five years. India has been supplying fuel to Nepal since 1974 under contracts that were periodically renewed. Indian Oil chairman B. Ashok, who was present on the occasion, said the renewed deal is for the period from April 2017 to March 2022 covering petrol, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel and liquified petroleum gas (LPG).

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