Nepal: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar declared a significant financial aid package of approximately NPR 1000 crores from the Indian government to Nepal in the wake of the recent earthquake in Jajarkot. The announcement was made during Jaishankar’s official visit to Nepal, aiming to strengthen ties and offer substantial support in times of crisis.
The earthquake, measuring 6.4 magnitude, struck Nepal in November, claiming 128 lives and leaving at least 141 injured, as reported by The Kathmandu Post.
During his visit, Jaishankar, along with Nepal’s Foreign Affairs Minister NP Saud, supervised the handover of the fifth installment of earthquake relief supplies from India. The assistance comprised “200 prefabricated houses, 1200 blankets, 150 tents, and 2000 sleeping bags” for the affected individuals in Nepal.
The Indian Embassy in Kathmandu affirmed that 20 prefabricated houses were immediately handed over, with the remainder scheduled for delivery in the coming weeks.
Jaishankar’s official visit, scheduled from January 4 to 5, 2024, witnessed several key engagements, including the co-chairing of the 7th meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission. The meeting extensively reviewed bilateral cooperation, highlighting developmental partnerships and acknowledging achievements in various sectors since the last commission meeting in January 2021.
Moreover, several agreements were exchanged between the two nations to bolster cooperation across various domains:
- An agreement to implement High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDPs) in Nepal, elevating the budgetary ceiling from NPR 5 crores to NPR 20 crores.
- A Long Term Power Trade agreement aiming to increase power export from Nepal to India to 10,000 MW within ten years, emphasizing mutual investments in Nepal’s hydropower generation sector.
- A Launch Service Agreement for Munal Satellite, a satellite developed by Nepali students, set to be launched gratis on an Indian rocket.
- An MoU for Cooperation in Renewable Energy Development between NTPC Limited and Nepal Electricity Authority, establishing a framework for renewable energy collaboration.
Additionally, three 132 kV cross-border transmission lines between India and Nepal were jointly inaugurated during Jaishankar’s visit.
The minister also paid courtesy calls on Nepal’s President Ram Chandra Paudel and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ engaging in discussions on mutual interests and holding meetings with other senior political leaders.
On the agenda for Friday, Jaishankar is set to inaugurate 59 post-earthquake reconstruction projects in education, health, and culture sectors before returning to India. The visit underscores Nepal’s significance as a priority partner under India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, reinforcing the enduring bond between the close neighbors.