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Allowing Nepal transit facility through Indian waterways to feature in Nepal-India talks

May 01 2018 | 03:54 pm

Kathmandu: Nepal and India began talks here on Tuesday to revise a Transit Treaty allowing Nepal transit facility to Nepal through the Indian waterways, Nepali officials said.

A sub-committee level meeting under the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC), a commerce secretary level mechanism between the two countries, kicked off in Kathmandu. The commerce secretary level talks will start on Thursday.

During Nepali Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to India on April 6-8, the two countries issued a joint statement on new connectivity through inland waterways, opening the door for Nepal to reach the sea through waterways for the first time.

If Nepal establishes direct access to the sea through waterways, experts said that it would reduce the cost of doing trade for land-locked Nepal.

“The two sides are going to discuss on technicalities of incorporating the issue in the Transit Treaty,” Rabi Shankar Sainju, joint secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply, said.

“As it is the first time that two sides are discussing on adding waterway as mode of transit facility, we will basically discuss and try to finalize the content to be incorporated in the Treaty.”

According to Madhav Belbase, joint secretary at the Water and Energy Commission, a body formed by the Nepali government to develop water and energy resources in an integrated way, Nepal and India might have to form joint study team to conduct the procedure as large part of waterways to the sea lies in India.

India is developing its first modern inland water transport fairway on Ganga River between Varanasi and the seaport of Haldia, Kolkata, with the assistance of the World Bank. Nepal could establish connectivity with the planned Indian waterways.

Panipokhari

Kathmandu, Nepal

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