Kathmandu, Aug 22 (IANS) Nepal and India inked an agreement on food safety standards, while New Delhi handed over cheques amounting to Rs 3.74 billion for two projects, including reimbursement for post-quake reconstruction, during the Fifth Nepal-India Joint Commission meeting that was attended by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Nepalese counterpart Pradeep Kumar Gyawali here.
The two sides inked a memorandum of understanding on food safety between the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control of Nepal and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.
The Indian government handed over a cheque of Nepali Rs 2.45 billion towards reimbursement to the Nepal government for post-earthquake housing reconstruction in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts.
The Indian government handed over another cheque Nepali Rs 1.29 billion towards strengthening road infrastructure in the Tarai region of Nepal.
Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri handed over the cheques to National Reconstruction Authority CEO Sushil Gyawali and Secretary of Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Devendra Regmi.
The two foreign ministers witnessed the handing over of the cheques.
During the meeting, both sides reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations with specific focus on the areas of connectivity and economic partnership; trade and transit; power and water resources sectors; culture and education, according to a press release issued by the Nepalese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Joint Commission expressed happiness over the momentum generated by the exchange of high-level visits in the past two years. “Views were exchanged on the review of Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1950 and submission of report of the Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations,” read the press release.
Matters related to cooperation in international, regional and sub-regional fora were also discussed.
The Joint Commission also underlined the need to address inundation issues due to, among other things, inadequate drainage provision that obstructs natural flow of water in border areas. The Joint Commission agreed to act on recommendations made by a joint team comprising officials from both sides, the release stated.
After the conclusion of the meeting, Indian Minister Jaishankar said on Twitter, “Comprehensively reviewed our bilateral relations and identified priority areas for cooperation [in the meeting].”
Following the meeting, Gyawali hosted a dinner in honour of the visiting Indian minister.
The 35-member Nepali delegation headed by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar leading their respective delegations co-chaired the meeting at Hotel Yak and Yeti on Wednesday evening.
Prior to the joint commission meeting, Jaishankar had held a meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at the latter’s official residence in Baluwatar.
On Thursday, Jaishankar paid a courtesy call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari at the Office of the President, Sheetal Niwas, in the morning.