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Nepal: We never compare our relationship with our friends: Gyawali on relations with India and China

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New Delhi: Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Friday tried to maintain equidistant from India and China and claimed that Kathmandu has always maintained good relations with both its big neighbours and disallowed its soil from carrying out detrimental activities against any of its neighbours

“We always maintained with our both neighbours. We never compare our relationship with our friends,” Gyawali said while answering a query on Nepal’s growing ties with China from a select audience at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA).

Gyawali also mentioned that he discussed border row during the India Nepal Joint Commission meet here on Friday. “We desire to start the conversation with a view to resolving the question of boundary alignment in the remaining segments.”

Answering another query he said he is not aware of request from India for mapping of Mt Everest.

Earlier the sixth meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Gyawali. The two delegations included Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Foreign Secretary of Nepal, Bharat Raj Paudyal. The visit is aimed at seeking support for the Oli-led caretaker government.

The Joint Commission comprehensively reviewed all aspects of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries and explored ways to further strengthen ties.

Both sides discussed several areas of cooperation including in the areas of connectivity, economy and trade, power, oil and gas, water resources, political and security issues, border management, development partnership, tourism, culture, education and capacity building, officials said.

The close cooperation between the two sides in combating Covid-19 pandemic in the region was noted.

Noting the milestone achieved by the Motihari-Amlekhganj petroleum products pipeline, the two sides discussed the expansion of the pipeline to Chitwan and the establishment of a new pipeline on the eastern side connecting Siliguri to Jhapa in Nepal.

Both sides welcomed the completion of the work on first passenger railway line between India and Nepal from Jaynagar to Kurtha via Janakpur, and noted that operating procedures for commencement of train services were being finalized. Other cross-border rail connectivity projects, including a possible Raxaul-Kathmandu broad gauge railway line, were also discussed.

The Joint Commission emphasized the need to facilitate cross border movement of people and goods. It was noted that the recently inaugurated Integrated Check Posts at Birgunj and Biratnagar have helped in seamless movement of people and trade between the two countries, officials said.

Both sides welcomed the commencement of construction of third Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Nepalgunj. India conveyed that construction of new ICP at Bhairahwa would be initiated shortly. Discussions were held on expediting joint hydropower projects, including the proposed Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, which have numerous benefits for the people of both countries, officials informed.

India conveyed that it would undertake two more cultural heritage projects in Nepal, namely, the Pashupatinath Riverfront Development and the Bhandarkhal Garden Restoration in Patan Durbar, with grant assistance.

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