India committed to help in development of Nepal: PM Modi

Manmohan Singh Rahul Gandhi meet Nepal PM Oli

Modi holds talks with Nepal prime minister, announces new railway, petroleum products line

India and Nepal also agreed to construct a new electrified rail line, with India's financial support, connecting the border city of Raxaul in India to Kathmandu in Nepal.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India will continue to be a "friend" of Nepal even as it will assist in its developmental plans.

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. "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 amidst concerns in India over China making inroads into the Himalayan republic. "We want to play friendly neighbourly relations, neighbourly policy and the most important thing for us is friendship". We want to create a model relationship. "A relationship that is cherished forever", Oli said in his media statement. Many in Kathmandu blamed India for the 135-day blockade from September, 2015 to February, 2016 that crippled Nepal's economy.

Oli received a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier in the day and met President Ram Nath Kovind. He described the rail and waterways connectivity initiatives as well as another proposal for India to help Nepal in agriculture as "game changing initiatives". Nepal is strategic point between India and China.

"This will link Nepal to the sea through the riverine network", Puri said. And the country of Everest will be able to connect directly to the ocean. He added that he had invited Modi to visit Nepal "at the earliest convenient time". "Dates for the Prime Minister's visit will be finalized through diplomatic channels". We believe that enhanced connectivity between our countries will boost our economic growth and benefit our citizens, he added.

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This will be followed by the finalization of the implementation and funding modalities of the project based on its detailed project report.

However, this is not the first railway project the two neighbours have agreed on. This was decided in September previous year during the visit of Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to Beijing.

In the agriculture sector, India will undertake a pilot project on organic farming and soil health improvement. "We will work together to stop misuse of our open border", he said. Alongside these projects, they will also bring into discussion the issues related to trade deficit and would stress on India to complete previously made infrastructure projects with many of them limping along for decades. "Nor did OBOR come up in their discussions". It is learnt that Modi mentioned to Oli about the current situation on cross-border terrorism from Pakistan and its impact in the South Asian region, particularly India.

Recalling that the close and friendly India-Nepal relations are built on the strong foundation of shared historical and cultural links and close people to people contacts, the two Prime Ministers underscored the importance of regular high-level political exchanges in cementing bilateral ties.

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