Although he came to participate in eighteenth SAAC Summit, Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi also used his two day visit to sign numbers of bilateral agreement with Nepal. During his Visit, Nepal and India singed ten different agreements including PDA of Arun III hydropower project.
According to a press release issued by Abhay Kumar First Secretary (PIC) & Secretary, BPKF of Indian Embassy, Nepal and India signed 16 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). They include:
1. MoU on Motor Vehicle Agreement and flag off of Kathmandu-Delhi bus service ‘Pashupatinath Express’
The India-Nepal Bilateral Motor Vehicle Agreement for Passenger Traffic envisages regular bus services between the two countries as per agreed routes, trips and time-table. It simplifies the procedure for movement of private and non-regular vehicles across the India-Nepal border. This agreement would facilitate seamless and hassle-free movement of people of both countries, further enhancing people to people contact and also promoting tourism. It is modelled on a similar SAARC agreement.
Initially, bus services will commence on the following three routes:
(i) Kathmandu-Bhairhawa-Sunauli-Gorakhpur-Lucknow-New Delhi;
(ii) Kathmandu-Bhairhawa-Sunauli-Azamgarh-Varanasi; and
(iii) Pokhara-Bhairhawa-Sunauli-Gorakhpur-Lucknow- New Delhi
During the visit, Hon’ble PM will flag off the Kathmandu-Delhi Passenger Bus Service ‘Pashupatinath Express’.
Once all the necessary modalities are in place, the objective is to operate the bus service on either daily or on alternate day basis.
2. MOU on National Police Academy, Panauti
The proposed National Police Academy at Panauti, located approximately 32 Km South East of Kathmandu, will be constructed on a plot of over 25 hectacres. Under the MoU, GoI will fund the cost of about INR 550 crores towards construction of the Academy. Earlier, the feasibility report of the Academy was completed with the assistance of National Police Academy, Hyderabad. MHA, Government of Nepal will be the executing agency and exercise oversight in coordination with GoI nominated officials in a Joint Project monitoring Committee (JPMC). Currently, GoI provides training courses in India to around 350 Nepal Police Officials every year. The Academy will cater to training of 410 Nepalese police officers annually.
3. Line of Credit of US$ 1 Billion
The Line of Credit of USD 1 billion to Government of Nepal from EXIM Bank will be utilized for hydropower, irrigation and infrastructural development projects. It was announced by PM during his visit to Nepal in August 2014. It will further strengthen the bilateral relationship and boost trade and commerce. The LoC will be at a concessional rate of interest of 1 per cent and will, in case of civil works, allow JVs and reduced Indian content requirement of 50%.
4. MoU between Ministry of AYUSH, GoI and Ministry of Health & Population of Government of Nepal for Cooperation in Traditional Systems of Medicine
The MoU seeks to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation in the field of traditional systems of medicine and medicinal plants between the two countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It also envisages mutual recognition of officially recognized traditional systems of medicine, mutual recognition of educational qualifications in traditional medicines, provision of scholarships in recognized institutions, recognition of traditional preparations on reciprocal basis as per existing laws of respective countries as well as permission to practice on a reciprocal basis by the qualified practitioners as per existing laws of the respective countries.
5. MOU on Tourism between the GOI and GON on Cooperation in the field of Tourism
Both India and Nepal seek to enhance cooperation in the tourism and hospitality sector. The MoU provides, inter alia, for:-
• promoting cooperation and direct communication between the stakeholders of tourism and hospitality industry
• exchanging information and data related to tourism
• Encouraging cooperation between tourism stakeholders
• exchanging experience in the areas of promotion, marketing, etc.
• constituting a Joint Working Group
India and Nepal being neighbors can benefit from better cooperation in the tourism sector. Footfall of tourists in both the counties is on the rise. Both the countries offer many tourist attractions which can be complementary. Joint efforts should be made to tap the full potential of opportunities available in the sector. Besides holiday, adventure and mountaineering tourism, immense scope exists in developing spiritual tourist circuits, such as the Buddhist Circuit (Lumbini-Bodh Gaya-Sarnath-Kushinagar). Establishment of a JWG after signing of the MOU will help in addressing and implementing the above packages.
Currently, India is the largest source of tourists coming to Nepal with 1, 65,815 Indian tourists visiting the country in 2012. Total tourist inflows into Nepal in 2012 were 803,092 which amount to nearly 40% of tourist flows into Nepal.
6-8 MoU on Twinning arrangements between Kathmandu-Varanasi, Janakpur-Ayodhya and Lumbini-Bodh Gaya as sister cities
Janakpur-Ayodhya, Lumbini-Bodh Gaya and Kathmandu-Varanasi are proposed to be linked as sister cities owing to their deep cultural and historical linkages.
Kathmandu, where the Pashupatinath temple is located could become the sister-city of Varanasi, where Kashi Vishwanath temple is located.
Varanasi is often referred to as “the holy city of India”. Varanasi is also known as the favorite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva as it has been mentioned in the Rigveda that this city in older times was known as Kashi or “Shiv Ki Nagri”. One of the largest residential universities of Asia, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), is located there whereas, Nepal’s most sacred Hindu shrine and one of the greatest Shiva sites, Pashupatinath temple is located in Kathmandu. The people of Kathmandu and Nepal have had religious, cultural and educational ties with Varanasi since ancient times. Many eminent Nepalese are alumni of BHU.
Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Ram is perfect to be a sister-city with Janakpur, which is famous as the birth place of Sita as per the Hindu epic Ramayan and where the famous Ram-Janaki temple is located. Every five years a procession (Barat) from Ayodhya comes to Janakpur.
Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Budha could be a sister-city of Bodh Gaya, where Budhha is said to have attained enlightenment.
The sister-city relations among these cities will help in promoting cultural exchange, sharing of knowledge and expertise as well as develop stronger people-to-people relations among them.
The visit of Prime Minister from 25th to 28th November 2014 would be a suitable occasion to sign sister-cities agreements among these cities.
9. MoU between India and Nepal on Cooperation for Youth Affairs
This MoU between Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, GoI and Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, GoN aims to facilitate youth exchanges between India and Nepal, such as young politicians, entrepreneurs, doctors, journalists, teachers, and sportspersons and youth festivals. The objective is exchange of programs, experiences, skills, techniques, information and knowledge in the areas of youth affairs.
10. Signing of PDA for the 900 MW Arun-III Hydropower project by SJVN and GoN
PM witnessed the signing of the Project Development Agreement (PDA) for the 900 MW Arun-III by SJVN and Government of Nepal.
11. Emergency and Trauma Centre
GOI signed a MoU for the establishment of Nepal Bharat Maitri Emergency and Trauma Centre in Kathmandu in 2003. The eight floor structure with 200 bed facility was built at an estimated cost of NRs. 160 crores [IRs 100 crores]. The Centre was jointly inaugurated during our PM’s visit.
12. Supply of one Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mark III to the Nepal Army
PM handed over one Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) Mark III to the Nepal Army. This had been a long-standing request of the Nepal Army. It has been fully designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
Dhruv ALH named after the polestar, is a light 5.5 tone class multirole and multi-mission helicopters. It is designed to meet the requirements of both military and civil operators. With a twin-engine configuration, it allows continued flight virtually throughout the flight envelope. Powered by Twin Turbo-shaft Engine, it has the capacity to take off 5,500 kgs. It incorporates a number of advanced technologies; Integrated Dynamic System (IDS), Anti-resonance Isolation System (ARIS), Full Authority Digital Electronic Control (FADEC), Hingeless Main Rotor, Bearing less Tail Rotor, and Automatic Flight Control System. It has a cruise speed of 250 kms per hour, range of 640km and endurance of 3 hours and 70 minutes.
13. Gifting of a sapling from the Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya
PM gifted a sapling from the Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya to be planted near the Ashoka Pillar at the Maya Devi Temple complex at Lumbini. The sapling symbolizes the shared civilization and cultural heritage of the two countries and carries the message of peace, friendship and shared values. It will be planted by our Ambassador immediately after PM’s visit.
14. Circulation of 500 and 1000 denomination Indian currency
PM said that GoI is actively considering lifting of the prohibition on circulation of 500 and 1000 denomination of Indian currency in Nepal and Bhutan that had been in place since May 2000. This had been an oft repeated request of the Nepalese side.
Lifting of this prohibition will facilitate remittances, movement of people across the border and facilitate tourism.
15. Gifting of one mobile soil testing van/lab
A Mobile soil testing van will be gifted by M/s Paradeep Phosphates (PPL) to the Government of Nepal during PM’s visit to Nepal in November 2014. PPL has long supplied manufactured DAP fertilizer to Nepal, primarily on G-to-G basis. In the past, Nepali officials have visited and received training at the Static Soil testing laboratory, Farmer’s Training School (FTS) and Mobile soil testing laboratories in Odisha. The Mobile Soil Testing Van will give a boost to the Soil health monitoring and adoption of best agricultural practices in Nepal. PPL Chairman Saroj Kumar Poddar (Ex-President FICCI) will be present during the handing over.
16. Augmentation of power supply to Nepal by 70 MW, prior to SAARC Summit
Government of Nepal had requested for augmentation of power supply from India by 70 MW before the SAARC Summit. The matter was discussed in November 2014 in the first meeting of the India-Nepal JWG on Power, established under the India-Nepal Power Trade Agreement that was signed in October 2014. The additional 70 MW power has been provided, and Nepal has started drawing additional power from the third week of November 2014.