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Sushma Swaraj describes her first Nepal visit as 'very successful'

Sunday, 27 July 2014 - 5:39pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday described her three-day visit to Nepal as very successful during which the two neighbours agreed to finalise the text of a power trade deal and "review and adjust" a crucial treaty of 1950 to reflect current realities.

"It was a very successful trip and the achievements were more than my expectations," Swaraj said at Tribhuvan International Airport here before leaving for New Delhi. Swaraj said both sides removed hurdles and agreed to step up cooperation in a number of key areas.

During her visit, the External Affairs Minister met Nepal's top leaders including President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Swaraj also met UCPN-Maoist chief and Leader of Opposition Prachanda.

Swaraj this morning called on Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam, who is also the acting chairman of the CPN-UML, which is a constituent of the ruling coalition. Swaraj was in Nepal to co-chair the meeting of the Indo-Nepal Joint Commission (JC) which was held yesterday after a gap of 23 years and to prepare the ground for the two-day official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from August 3 -- the first visit by an Indian Premier in over 17 years. The late Prime Minister I K Gujral had visited Nepal in 1997.

During the visit, India told Nepal that the new Indian government is very keen to impart "renewed momentum" to their multifaceted bilateral ties even as the two countries decided to step up cooperation in key areas of defence, security, trade and and hydro power. The two countries also agreed to "review" and adjust" the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 to reflect the current realties.

The JC directed the Foreign Secretaries to make necessary recommendations. It also directed the Nepal-India Boundary Working Group to commence field works at the earliest.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the Indo-Nepal Joint Commission co-chaired by Swaraj and her Nepalese counterpart Mahendra Bahadur Pandey. The two leaders underscored the importance of harnessing vast hydropower potentials of Nepal for mutual benefits. They directed the concerned authorities to finalise the text of a Power Trade Agreement (PTA) at the earliest.

While noting the finalisation of the Terms of Reference of the Pancheswar Development Authority, they directed the concerned authorities for early completion of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project.

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