New Delhi : Nepal government in keen to include India’s presence in infrastructure build-up in Nepal. This was indicated by the recent move taken by Nepal in seeking assistance from India for setting up Infrastructure Bank in Nepal. Nepal FM met his Indian counterpart this Monday and expressed desire for getting guidance and assistance in setting up infra bank. Finance Minister of both nations — Bishnu Prasad Paudel from Nepal and Arun Jaitley from India, had a lunch meet during which this proposal was discussed in detail. FinMin Jaitley informed that there is a scope for increasing India’s investment in Nepal in sectors such as power, healthcare and roadways as the neighboring country has sought assistance in setting up a special infrastructure development bank.
Jaitley asked Nepalese FinMin to finalize the country’s post-earthquake reconstruction program at the earliest to better utilize USD 1 billion assistance pledged by India.This meeting comes ahead of Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s likely visit to India on February 19 — which is stated to be his first foreign trip as the country’s premier. India has already provided financial commitment to Nepal in an earlier move, wherein, for the rebuilding of Nepal post earthquake, India had extended USD 1 billion in assistance at a donors’ conference in Kathmandu in June last year.
Finance Ministry issued a statement which spoke of the meet. Jaitley, during the meet, sounded optimistic of investments from Indian side — both in the public and the private sector — and sounded hopeful that this would give the required fillip and financial boost, and would reflect in investments across all sectors in Nepal, especially power, healthcare and road construction.
Paudel, Nepal FinMin, thanked India for the ‘tremendous assistance extended by the Indian government to Nepal in its hour of need’. In his words — Nepal is planning to establish a special infrastructure development bank and sought India’s help in this regard.
Nepal FinMin also met with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and tried to mend the burst of seams after constitution protests were on a rise, sounding promising towards normalizing ties after months of tense relations between India and Nepal at borders. Swaraj, during that meet with Finmin Paudel, assured Nepal that India is looking forward to Oli’s visit as it could “further strengthen” the bilateral ties.
Ties between the two countries had soured following Nepal adopting its new Constitution in September. Sections of the Nepalese population — Tharus, Madhesis and Janjatis — saw the new Constitution as discriminatory that would lead to their ‘political marginalization’.