Nepal seeks additional air routes, Covid vax, fertilizer from India

Nepal has sought additional four air entry points with India, a supply of Covid vaccines and imports of chemical fertilizer

Representative photo
Representative photo
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IANS

Nepal has sought additional four air entry points with India, a supply of Covid vaccines and imports of chemical fertilizer.

This request was made during a meeting between Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Glasgow on the sidelines of the UN COP26.

Nepal had already asked India to allow three air entry points over India from Bhairahawa, Dhangadi, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar during Modi's visit to Kathmandu in 2014.

"And we have requested them again," said Nepal's Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Poudyal.

The new air routes would facilitate international flights to proposed international airports in Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Nijgadh, according to officials.

On June 17, 2018, India had provided new air entry routes to Nepal over Biratnagar and Janakpur. With the permission, international flights coming to Nepal can use the eastern air entry routes over Biratnagar and Janakpur. Before that, Nepal-bound international flights would enter Nepali airspace from Simara only.

Prime Minister Deuba thanked Modi for its valuable assistance in socio-economic development of Nepal including infrastructures, railway links, petroleum pipeline, reconstruction projects among others, a statement issued by Foreign Ministry of Nepal said,

Deuba also thanked for the Indian support to Nepal in essential medical supplies and vaccines in its fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

The Nepali leader expressed that India's support would continue in supply of chemical fertilizer as in the past.

"He (Deuba) also requested the Indian government to allow additional air entry routes through Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi, Nepalgunj and Bhairahawa. The Indian Prime Minister stated that he would work for further strengthening Nepal-India ties and assured of his full support to Nepal as required," the statement added.


Deuba also requested India's support for early resumption of export of chemical fertilizers to Nepal as both sides are waiting to sign a formal deal. In June, Nepali and Indian officials had discussed signing a five-year deal to supply chemical fertilizers to Nepal.

As per the proposed deal, Nepal can buy up to 200,000 tonnes of chemical fertilizers, mostly urea, per year from the southern neighbour without issuing a global tender. The amount will be enough to meet Nepal's 30 per cent annual fertilizer requirement.

The procurement would be made government-to-government by the state-owned Agriculture Inputs Company. During a meeting in June in Delhi, India had given approval for an immediate supply of 30,000 tonnes of urea and 20,000 tonnes of di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) to Nepal to meet the seasonal demands, but there has been no further progress on the front since then.

This is the first meeting between Deuba and Modi in four years.

With regard to Covid vaccines, Modi has promised to supply jabs as per Nepal's request and demand, according to officials.

No specific discussion was held about high-level visits from both sides but there are always prospects of such visits in the future from both sides, another Nepali official said.

"In their first engagement since PM Deuba assumed office, the two leaders discussed ways to further strengthen our close bilateral ties," Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted.

"Also discussed climate, Covid-19 and resolved to work together towards post pandemic recovery."

Deuba also thanked Modi for India's continued support for Nepal's development endeavours, post-earthquake recovery and expected similar kind of support and cooperation in the future too, said Poudyal.

"...Theirs was a fruitful meeting, in which different issues including a collective effort against Covid-19 and working together to overcome climate change were discussed," a tweet by India's Prime Minister Office has mentioned after the meeting between Deuba and Modi.

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