New Delhi, Sept.17 : India today announced that it would provide Rs.200 million (Rs.20 crore) to Nepal as flood relief and also agreed to rebuild segments of the East-West Highway damaged by the recent floods caused by an overflowing River Kosi.
A joint statement issued by both governments on the eve of the departure of Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda' after a five-day official visit, expressed concern over the large-scale damage caused by the breach of an embankment of the river in the Kosi barrage area.
It was decided to launch relief and rehabilitation measures for the victims and the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure, and other measures as per the agreements, immediately, and take up preventive measures to avoid the recurrence of such events in the long term.
Both sides also decided to take up preventive measures for the Gandak and other barrages under existing bilateral arrangements.
The two sides also discussed the problem of inundation in the border areas between Nepal and India and agreed to take up necessary work for its effective prevention on the basis of bilateral consultation.
Both sides agreed that Government of India will set up a camp office in Biratnagar for facilitating movement of Nepali vehicular traffic through Bihar for improved access to other parts of Nepal till the highway is repaired.
It was also agreed to create a three-tier mechanism at the level of Ministerial, Secretary and technical levels to rationalise and raise the efficacy of existing bilateral mechanisms in order to push forward discussions on the development of water resources in a comprehensive manner, including hydro-power generation, irrigation, flood control and other water related cooperation.
The Secretaries will meet in two weeks, the joint statement said.
The talks, which were held in an atmosphere of utmost cordiality and warmth, also recognised the peaceful, political, democratic transition in Nepal.
The statement said that both Prachanda and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh recognized the historic changes that have taken place in Nepal with the elections to the Constituent Assembly and the declaration of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal according to the wishes of the people of Nepal.
Both sides felt the need to inject new dynamism into bialteral ties, keeping in mind ground realities prevailing in both countries.
They accepted that the multi-faceted and deep-rooted relationships between the two countries needed further consolidation and expansion in a forward-looking manner to better reflect the current realities.
It was in this broader context that both Prime Ministers agreed to review, adjust and update the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and other agreements, while giving due recognition to the special features of the bilateral relationship.
It was agreed that a high-level committee at the level of Foreign Secretaries will be set up for this purpose.
Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in handling cross-border crime and security concerns. Home Secretaries will meet soon to implement this decision.
India said that it will continue to assist Nepal in its peaceful, democratic transition; its economic development and reconstruction. The areas of assistance would include infrastructure, human resource development, health and education.
The two Prime Ministers directed the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) at the level of Commerce Secretaries to meet in one month to initiate a comprehensive review of the existing trade and transit arrangements with a view to promoting industrialization in Nepal, expanding complementarities of bilateral trade on a sustainable basis and removing the barriers to trade.
As a gesture of goodwill, India agreed to implement the Naumure Hydro-electric Project on the Rapti river.
India also agreed to withdraw the bans on the export of rice, wheat, maize, sugar and sucrose for quantities agreed with Nepal and provide a credit of up to Rs. 150 crores to Nepal for the next three months to ensure uninterrupted POL supplies to Nepal.
The Indian Prime Minister also accepted an invitation from his Nepalese counterpart to visit Nepal, dates for which would be decided through diplomatic channels.