India may not have extended a soft loan worth Rs. 4,892 crore that Nepalese PM Baburam Bhattarai desired during his four-day visit to India but it has indicated its willingness to favourably consider development projects as requested by Kathmandu at an early meeting of the joint commission.
“The Indian side indicated willingness to favourably consider priority development projects in various sectors as requested by Nepal and suggested that these may be reviewed and considered in detail at a meeting of the joint commission at the earliest,” according to a joint statement issued at the end of Bhattarai’s maiden visit to India as the Nepal PM.
It is understood that India would be considering Bhattarai’s request for the soft loan and building an IIT and polytechnic in Nepal, a new airport in Kathmandu and phase II of optical fibre link under this provision of the joint statement.
Sources assured that these requests put forward by the Nepalese PM would be considered on a priority basis.
India had earlier extended a Line of Credit (LoC) worth Rs. 4,892 crore for Bangladesh during the visit of PM Sheikh Hasina here in January 2010. It was the highest ever LoC offered by India to any country. During Bhattarai’s trip the two sides signed a LoC worth Rs. 1,223 crore for infrastructure projects.
It has been learnt that the framing of the joint statement witnessed tough negotiations between the two sides and was concluded minutes ahead of Bhattarai’s departure for Kathmandu on Sunday evening after his visit to Uttarakhand on Sunday morning.
PM Manmohan Singh offered to increase the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme slots for Nepalese students to 200 every year, the joint statement said.
Nepal has been facing severe power crisis. And in response to Nepal’s request for an increase in electricity export to 200 MW to cope with the deficit during the dry season, India conveyed readiness to supply maximum electricity possible on existing transmission lines. It also suggested that technical experts of the two countries should meet to explore the options available for enhancing electricity trade between India and Nepal.