Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Very good afternoon to all of you. Thank you for joining us for this special media briefing for the ongoing visit of the Prime Minister of Nepal. To give us a sense of the visit so far, we have with us, Foreign Secretary Sir, Shri Vinay Kwatra. Also joining us on the dais are, Ambassador to Nepal, Sri Naveen Srivastava and Joint Secretary (North), Shri Anurag Srivastava. Sir, may I hand over the floor to you.
Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you very much and good afternoon to all our friends from the media, who have come here for this special briefing on the ongoing visit of the Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Prachanda to India. As you are all aware, the Prime Minister of Nepal, His Excellency Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda ji is on an official visit to India. We have just concluded the bilateral engagement between the two Prime Ministers. I would begin by running you through the program and thereafter provide a general sense of the discussions, as also key outcomes which have been achieved during this ongoing visit of Prime Minister Prachanda. This is Prime Minister Prachanda's first bilateral visit abroad since he assumed office as Prime Minister in December last year. Overall, this is his fourth visit to India in his capacity as the Prime Minister of Nepal. Prime Minister Prachanda arrived yesterday. Following his arrival, the National Security Adviser called on him yesterday. This morning, Prime Minister Prachanda visited Rajghat to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. Thereafter, he was received at Hyderabad House by the Honorable Prime Minister for talks. And after the talks concluded, both Prime Ministers presented their press statements, which you would have all seen.
Nepal occupies a very special place under India's neighborhood first policy. Our relationship with Nepal is unique, characterized by open borders and civilizational ties, that are anchored in our shared cultural and religious traditions, manifesting as strong people to people linkages, including those of kinship. The talks between the two Prime Ministers characterize the traditional warmth and cordiality between our two countries. The two leaders engaged in fairly comprehensive and constructive and future oriented discussions directed towards taking India-Nepal bilateral relationship forward in a manner that is constructive, progressive and beneficial for both our societies.
The discussions and outcomes cover the entire spectrum of bilateral cooperation, including political, economic, trade, energy, connectivity, infrastructure cooperation, and also development partnership. I would briefly share with you key outcomes during the two Prime Ministers discussion, which were also announced just ahead of the press remarks.
Let me start with the power sector, which has been one of the key signature successes of India-Nepal partnership in recent years. As you would recall, India and Nepal had issued a joint vision statement on power sector cooperation in April last year, when former Prime Ministers Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba ji was visiting India. During the talks today, the two Prime Ministers appreciated the growth in the power sector cooperation and also the export of over 450 MW of power from Nepal to India. A major decision today, which was also announced by Honorable Prime Minister, in his press remarks, was the understanding by both leaders to increase the quantum of export of power, as an objective, from Nepal to India to 10,000 MW within the next 10 years. As regards power generation, an MoU was signed for the development of 480 megawatt Phukot-Karnali hydropower project in western Nepal by NHPC of India. Further, the signing of the project development agreement for the 679 megawatt Lower Arun project by India's Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam was also welcomed by the two Prime Ministers.
Besides power generation and power trade, which I just mentioned, there were also achievements in the field of power transmissions, where the two Prime Ministers participated in the groundbreaking of the 400 KV, Gorakhpur-Butwal transmission line. This is the second high capacity interconnection between two countries. India has also decided to fund three major transmission corridors in Nepal under the line of credit support of about $680 million. These are Bheri Corridor, Nijgadh-Inaruwa Corridor and Gandak-Nepalgunj corridor. As you would have all noticed in the press report some time ago, India has also agreed to permit the first trilateral power transaction from Nepal to Bangladesh via India for up to 40 MW of power.
During the meeting, the two Prime Ministers also expressed their commitment to achieve tangible and time bound progress on Pancheshwar multipurpose project. Both sides also concluded besides this long list of agreements and specific cooperation in the field of hydropower, both Prime Minister also saw key agreements, concluded in the field of cross border movement of goods, people and finance. Today, India and Nepal signed the revised Treaty of Transit, which would be among the things provide Nepal access to inland waterways of India for the first time. This is effectively once in a generation kind of Agreement, which would contribute very significantly to the development of trade and investment linkages between India and Nepal.
The two Prime Ministers also inaugurated the twin Integrated Check Posts (ICPs), in Rupaidiha in India and Nepalgunj in Nepal. Both Prime Ministers also conducted the groundbreaking ceremony of the twin ICPs in Sunauli in India, and Bhairahawa in Nepal. An MoU for the construction of another Integrated Check Post in Dodhara Chandani, in the far western Nepal, under Indian grant assistance was also concluded. India has also decided to fund and build two additional bridges across the Mahakali River at Shirsha and Jhulaghat in Nepal, connecting to Champawat and Pithoragarh districts in India.
In the railway sector, both the Prime Minister presided over the inaugural run of the cross border freight rail operations between Bathnaha in India and Nepal custom yard in Nepal, on the Jogbani-Biratnagar rail link, which was constructed with the Indian grant assistance. This was accompanied by handing over to the Government of Nepal, the Kurtha-Bijalpura rail section of the Jaynagar-Kurtha passenger rail link, of which operations were flagged off by the Prime Ministers of India and Nepal last year. India is additionally providing one time grant for maintenance of the railway infrastructure for Jaynagar-Kurtha rail section. The final location survey of Raxaul-Kathmandu rail link was also handed over to the Nepalese side. It was also agreed that India will provide training and capacity building to Nepal Rail Officials in the Indian Railway Institutes. The conclusion of the agreement between NPCI International Limited and NCHL of Nepal links our digital payment systems and is yet another significant step in creating seamless financial connectivity between India and Nepal. This also builds on the launch of Rupay card last year.
On energy sector, besides the hydropower, the two Prime Ministers also laid the foundation stone for phase two facilities under the Motihari-Amlekhgunj Pipeline. The phase one, as you are aware, has been a game changer for the supply of petroleum products to Nepal ensuring significant cost saving and efficiencies. An MoU was also signed on extension of this pipeline, Motihari-Amlekhganj Pipeline, from Amlekhganj to Chitwan as well as on laying the second major cross-border pipeline infrastructure between Siliguri in India and Jhapa in Nepal. So, extension of the existing pipeline and laying of a new cross-border petroleum product pipeline between the two countries. India has also offered Nepal for creating a ground station and supply 300 user terminals to offer the services of South Asia satellite to Nepal under grant assistance. This initiative would promote regional cooperation in the space sector as also facilitate the utilization of space technology applications in important areas of governance such as medicine, tele-education, e-governance and also disaster response.
Prime Minister Modi also congratulated Nepal on becoming a founding member of the International Big Cat Alliance. As regards the other elements of the visit, the Prime Minister of Nepal will participate in the Joint Investor Summit. He will also be calling on the Honorable President and Honorable Vice President of India, later today. Tomorrow, Prime Minister of Nepal travels to Madhya Pradesh, first to the holy city of Ujjain and where he would visit the Mahakaleshwar temple. As you are aware, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji had inaugurated the Shri MahaKal Lok Corridor in Ujjain in October last year. The visit would reflect the depth of our deep rooted civilizational linkages. Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal will also spend some time in Indore and will have official engagements there, including those relating to, with visiting the sites relating to solid waste management and also visiting a Special Economic Zone there. The visit of Prime Minister of Nepal to India upholds the long established tradition of high level visits and exchanges between the two countries. The outcome oriented discussions held by Prime Minister Modi ji and Prime Minister Prachanda have provided a very robust framework for taking our multifaceted partnership to even greater heights for the benefit of our people here.
As you can see, from the long list of outcomes spread across pretty much all domains of economic cooperation, these are all classic successful examples of the vision of Neighborhood First, that Honorable Prime Minister of India has maintained with regard to India's neighborhood. I would stop here and would take whatever questions you might have. Thank you.
Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, India: Thank you Sir. The ground rules again, please identify yourself and the organization you represent. I will start with you Yeshi.
Yeshi Seli: This is Yeshi Seli from the New Indian Express. Sir, there were no bilaterals in improving air connectivity because Nepal has been requesting that air connectivity specially in the airport at Lumbini. And what were the talks like when both prime ministers did talk about resolving border, cross-border dispute?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, could you repeat the first one?
Yeshi Seli: The first was air connectivity.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Yeah. What is the question?
Yeshi Seli: Nepal has been asking India to enhance air connectivity specially to new airports like the one in Lumbini.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. Yeah, please.
Kavita: Sir main Kavita hu, Hari Bhoomi Newspaper se. Sir mera sawal ye hai ki do no pradhan mantrio ki jo baat chit huwi hai usme defense aur security ka issue jisme jo Nepal ke taraf se jo humesha jo disputed border areas hai unhe claim kiya jata hai jaise Lipulekh, Kalapani aur Limpiyadhura ka jo dispute hai. Uske lekar pradhan mantri Modi ne kya pradhan mantri Prachanda ke samne me koi baat rakhi hai? Aur unka kis taraha ka rukh raha hai pradhan mantri Prachanda ka iske bare mei.
Sir, I am Kavita from Hari Bhoomi Newspaper. My question is regarding the discussion between the two Prime Ministers about the defense and security issues, specifically the ongoing dispute over the disputed border areas with Nepal, such as Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura. Has Prime Minister Modi said anything to Prime Minister Prachanda regarding this matter? And what is the stance of Prime Minister Prachanda on this issue?
Abhishek Jha: Hello Sir. Abhishek Jha from CNN News 18. My question is regarding this Aagnipath Scheme and Nepalese citizens are not being recruited in this Scheme for long now and whether the two Prime Ministers did discuss this issue and what was the overall you know rukh on this issue?
Madhurendra: Sir Madhurendra News Nation se. Mera sawal rail connectivity ko le kar hai. Jaisa ka apne bataya ki Raxaul se le ke Kathmandu ke bich jo rail connectivity par baat chit huwi hai, us barame Nepalese side ko handover kiya gaya hai. To kya target plan hai? Kab tak ye rail connectivity ka hum plan kar rahe hai? Dusara sawal Sir Abhishek ke sawal se related hai. Basically jo Gurkha ki bharti hoti thi humare Indian army me ab wo band hai Aagnipath scheme ke aane ke baad se. to kya usko le kar ke koi baat chit huwi hai?
Sir, this is Madhurendra from News Nation. My question is regarding rail connectivity. As you mentioned, there have been discussions about the rail connectivity between Raxaul and Kathmandu, and it has been handed over to the Nepalese side. What is the target plan? Till when are we planning for this rail connectivity? My second question is related to Abhishek's question. Basically, the recruitment of Gurkhas in the Indian Army has been discontinued since the introduction of the Aagnipath Scheme. Has there been any discussion regarding this matter?
Gita Mohan: Gita Mohan from India Today. There are reports of statements from leaders in Nepal, former Prime Minister KP Oli, regarding the Akhand Bharat map in the Indian Parliament. He said that that should be raised by the Nepalese Prime Minister, when he meets with the Indian Prime Minister. Was the matter discussed?
Akanshya: Sir Akhanshya Nepali Times. Sir just two quick questions. One on the Bhutanese refugee crisis that is rocked the entire country right now. A lot of protests in Nepal and Nepal is also under an international pressure. Was this brought up to you --
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: What crisis?
Akanshya: The Bhutanese refugees, the fake Bhutanese refugee issue. And Sir, can we now on the EPG was there any discussion on the Eminent Persons Group report? Can be now consider it a thing of the past? Thank you.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sir, let's take this round and then we have a few more hands.
Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Can I just pick up different elements of different questions on which the answers are in clear yes and no so that it becomes easier in terms of responding to the other questions? So the question from Abhishek, part of the question from Abhishek on the recruitment of Gurkhas, post the Agnipath Scheme.
Apka bhi prasan Gurkha recruitment ko le ke tha.
Your question was also regarding Gurkha recruitment.
Question from Akanshya on the question relating to the Bhutanese refugee scam in Nepal…EPG report and the question there on the matter of mural whether that came up or not. To the best of my understanding during the restricted level talks and during the delegation level talks, these issues were not raised.
Yeshi, to your question relating to discussions on air connectivity. The two Prime Ministers discussed almost all aspects of bilateral connectivity between the two countries. In fact, if you heard, well Prime Minister did mention that during his 2014 visit, he had coined the term ‘hit’= highways, info ways and trans ways, essentially pointing to different elements of connectivity between the two countries. And all these aspects came up. We have already mentioned….I mentioned in my opening remarks, some of the crucial decisions relating to…for example, infrastructure connectivity, whether it is through the ICPs or it is through the petroleum. I have also listed out the agreement relating to financial connectivity between the NPCIL and NCHL. Air connectivity and how best to intensify as also expand the connectivity between India and Nepal definitely came up for discussion. There are many elements to it. There is element of connectivity between different cities of India and different cities of Nepal. There is also a question of connectivity with different cities of Nepal through different air routes. The principle frame of reference, and you heard this in the remarks by Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal, the principle frame of reference in looking at all broad level issues and specific issues of air connectivity between the two countries is a positive frame of reference. And in that frame, the technical experts will now sit down look at each of the proposals which are there on the table and would proceed forward to make appropriate decisions. These are questions which require extensive technical examination because you do get into airspace, at some points the air spaces…under the domains where in it interferes into the space which is commanded by Air Force and all that. So there are all, this is just one of the question, but there are several other elements, which are very important for the technical experts to examine on this.
Your second question was relating to the border. In the press remarks of the two Prime Ministers, you heard what Honorable Prime Minister of India said towards the end of his press remarks. And you also heard what Honorable Prime minister of Nepal said in his remarks with regard to, how the border issue…how the boundary issue is to be addressed going forward. I would not like to add anything to those remarks because those statements speak for themselves. They not only speak of the intent of the two leaders and the two systems, they also speak of the specifics through which that intent is to be carried forward and I think that has very clearly came out in that statement.
Kavita ji jo aapke prasan me jo do mulbhut baatein thi ek to jo dispute ko le ke. Uska uttar main apko ispast roop se diya hai. Lekin jo baaki safety aur security ko le kar jo mudde hai, jo do samajo me security se mudde jo jude huwe jo prasna hai, uspe le ke dono netaaon ne vistaar me varta ki aur us varta ke antargat kis prakar se Bharat-Nepal apna sahayog baidhaye, kis prakar se jo ki dono desho ke bich me jo relevant sansthaye hai wo apna sahayog banaye taki jo bhi ye safety security ki samsyae hai unko unchit roop se ground level pe acchi taraha se nivaran ho sake. In samasyao ka swaroop kya hai, in samasyao me kya kya chunautiya hai jo dono samajo ke samne utpanna hoti hai ye acchi taraha se vistrit roop se dono pradhan mantri ke bich me sahayog ka kya paripeskh ho in sab chunautiyo ko address karne ke liye usme vistar me varta huwi thi.
Kavita ji, the two fundamental issues you mentioned…one was regarding the disputes, has been addressed clearly in my previous response. However, on the issues related to safety and security, the questions related to security in both the societies, both the leaders extensively discussed about them. And in those discussions, they discussed how India and Nepal can strengthen their cooperation and how relevant institutions between the two countries can collaborate in finding effective solutions to the challenges and ensuring proper resolution of safety and security issues at the ground level. The nature of these issues, the challenges they present to both societies…a detailed discussion between the two Prime Ministers on what should be the perspective of cooperation to address these challenges were part of the elaborate conversation.
Rail connectivity. You know as I…jo rail connectivity me jo Raxaul-Kathmandu ka jo FLS, field level survey hai, wo haali me Nepal sarkar ko diya gaya hai. Ab hum Nepal sarkar ke comments us field level survey pe kya honge uski apeksha kar rahe hai. Sigrah sigrah jaise wo humare pas aayega uske baad agale kadam yani ki Raxaul-Kathmandu ka jo route hai uska uspe DPR, uspe jo aage technical chetra me jo bhi karya honi hai wo karya se pahele hume Nepal ki uttar ki pratiksha hai. Humare field level surveys ke document ko. Ek baar wo reply aa jata hai to is project ki time line kya ho usko sunischit karna thoda saral ho jayega.
The Field Level Survey (FLS) for the Raxaul-Kathmandu rail connectivity project has recently been handed over to the Nepalese government. Currently, we are awaiting comments from the Nepalese government regarding this field level survey. Once we receive their feedback, further steps, such as the Detailed Project Report (DPR) and the necessary technical work for the Raxaul-Kathmandu route, can proceed. However, before commencing these tasks, we are awaiting the response from Nepal, specifically regarding the documents related to our field level surveys. Once we receive their reply, it will be easier to determine the project's timeline.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. Niraj? Okay. Yes please.
Ranjit: My name is Ranjit Kumar. Foreign Secretary, did the Nepalese PM raise the issue of -- Ranjit Kumar. Did the Nepalese PM raise the issue of peace and friendship treaty with the Indian Prime Minister during conversations?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: You please introduce your organization also just for record.
Ranjit: I am freelancer Sir.
Kallol: Kallol from The Hindu Sir. Sir, there are reports that Nepalese Government is in talks with certain companies in China for purchase of military hardware. Has India expressed its opinion on this purchase that's currently under process?
Manas: Sir Manas from PTI. Sir, just want to know in fact, I mean, how significant is the power trade arrangement between India Bangladesh and Nepal? And are you looking at expanding it to some other countries in the future?
Sridhar: Sir, Sridhar from the Asian Age. Sir we all saw in the past few years, especially during Mr. Oli's tenure as Prime Minister how Nepal had a very pronounced tilt towards China. So during the talks today were any Indian concerns and sensitivities raised with the Nepalese PM regarding the China factor?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: The preface is your comment right let me just clarify that.
Sridhar: The setback to ties during Oli's tenure.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Tilt toward China is your language. Okay. Pranay.
Pranay: Sir Pranay Upadhyay, ABP News se. Bharat aur Nepal ke bich me khuli sima hai aur pichale kuch samaya me lagatar ye reports aai hai ki Nepal ke sate huwe jo border ke ilake hai aur Nepal ke chetra me jo ilake hai wo demographic change huwa hai aur khas taur par jo pratibandhit sangathan PFI hai. Uski karwahio ke madhya nazar…to kya Bharat ne is mamle me apni chintaye uthai hai, aur kya is bareme Nepal ke taraf se koi aaswasan diya gaya hai.
Sir, this is Pranay Upadhyay from ABP News. There is an open border between India and Nepal, and in recent times, there have been consistent reports of demographic changes in the border areas and regions within Nepal, as well as the activities of the banned organization PFI. In this regard, has India expressed concerns and has there been any assurance given by Nepal regarding these matters?
Vishal: Sir main Vishal Pandey hu Zee News se. pradhan mantri ne Ramayan circuit ke bareme me teji lane ki baat kahi hai. Kis prakar ki teji aayegi aur kin pariyojano par abhi kaam aage badhega? Kya koi target rakha gaya hai?
Sir, I am Vishal Pandey from Zee News. The Prime Minister has mentioned speeding up the work of Ramayan Circuit. What kind of acceleration can be expected, and which projects will see progress? Has any specific target been set?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay. I will take one last question. Yeah go ahead.
Sandhya: Sandhya, ET. Sir, quickly just want to know how the financial part of this first trilateral is going to be panned out? Is India going to get some sort of a benefit financially, while exporting that power. Yeah. And a quick one on NPCI bit. Do we have a vision on how big are we planning to do that with Nepal?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: What?
Sandhya: In terms of numbers? Do you have any numbers?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Sorry, could you repeat the second part of the question?
Sandhya: The NPCI partnership….where Indian…for digital collaboration. Do we have some financial target around that.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: The MoU that was signed today?
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Okay.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you. Sir. I think we'll close this.
Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Sorry, excuse me, what do you mean by financial target? Of a financial interoperable platform…what is the reference to financial target that you're talking about? If I can better understand?
Sandhya: Are we going to cover the entire Indians or also the entire population there? Do we have some sort of clarification around that?
Shri Vinay Kwatra, Foreign Secretary: Thank you. Let me start with the last question first. To my limited understanding of how these platforms work and what exactly do they entail, in terms of the mechanisms in which they operate. This is essentially a mechanism between NPCIL and NCHL of Nepal, wherein the financial payments between the two countries across various types of commercial transactions would get eased up very, very considerably. So you could say, you know, in a way, ease of payment of business transactions. This operates on a certain principle that the company providing the platform in India, and the company which is in Nepal will provide these interoperable platforms that talk to each other so that the citizens on both sides can make the relevant payments for their transactions which they carry out. The scope in terms of coverage of the population, the scope in terms of what kind of transactions would be covered or not, is a very evolving frame. So, you might start with something. I wouldn't say as a pilot really, but let's say starts with a certain limited set of designated payments for an identified set of transactions, which then, over a period of time grows and then covers larger population metrics, but also cover the larger set of transactions. You would recall, last year we had launched the Rupay card between the two countries. From that launch to today, the use of Rupay card has expanded very significantly between the two countries.
Likewise, we hope that with this MoU between NPCIL and NCHL the other forms of payments, which were earlier on not available to the consumers for paying their transactions would now be available. And hence naturally, this will expand the two businesses also on both sides. There is a certain element of fee based transaction that goes into it which will also add to the further economic contributions and gain within the two systems that use it. I do not have the exact targets so to speak of extenders, but the intention is to try and ensure that most of the retail transactions which take place which are conducted by the consumers get covered increasingly through these systems of financial connectivity so that it makes it very easier not just for the consumers, but also for the regulators and the people in between. This, frankly, is a very significant step not just between the two countries, but also in the expansion of the entire concept of financial connectivity between India and the other countries. So it's good to see that in our neighborhood increasingly now other countries are also joining. Nepal being the latest example for this.
Zee News ka jo prasan tha Ramayana circuit ko le ke. To usse pariyojanye se judi huwi pariyohano ko le ke. To is visaya pe pradhan mantri ji ne ispast roop se kaha hai ki Ramayana circuit ke jo bhi pariyojanaye hai usko jaldi se jaldi kargar kar ke jo dono desho ke bich me ek bahut hi gehen aur mahetwapurna samajo ke bich me jo ek sanskritik aur jo ek dharmik shardhabaav ke jo sambandh hai unko aur gehera kiya jaye, unko aur jyada badhaya jaye. To inse judi jo pariyojanaye hai unka jo hai is samaya ek unka chinhikaran ki prakriya chal rahi hai. Uske baad ispe jo specific in pariyojanao ke do DPR hai uspe kaam aur fir baad me unke exhibition pe kaam hoga.
Regarding the Zee News question about the Ramayana Circuit, the Prime Minister has clearly stated that the projects related to the circuit should be implemented as quickly as possible in order to deepen and strengthen the profound and important cultural and religious ties between the two countries. The process of prioritizing and identifying these projects is currently underway. Following this, work will be undertaken on the specific Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) and subsequently on the exhibition related to them.
Pranay jo apka prasn tha simawarti chetra me jo demographic changes huwe hai aur us se judi jo apki jo bhi jigyashaye jisko apne vyakt kiya. Dekhiye jab dono pradhan mantrio ji me baat huwi to ek jo humare sahayog aur sahakarya ka jo ek mehatwapurna paripeksh hai wo paripeksh hai dono samajo ki me surakshya aur unki jo security hai. Naturally, dono samajo ki suraksha me jo jo chunautiya samne aati hai aur ye chunautiya aaj ki nahi hai, purani hai. In chunautio ka kis prakar se dono desho ki sansthaye mil ke samna kare, kis sandarbh me samna kare, usko le ke kya sayahog ho, usko le ke kya sahakarya ho, us par jo hai dono pradhan mantrio ke bich me baat huwi hai. Aur baat chit se ye ispast hai ke dono desh ek dusare ki jo surkasha se judi jo chunautiya hai unke prati samvedansil hai. Aur na kewal samvedansil hai unko mitigate karne ke liye apna sahayog aur sahakarya badhane ke liye bhi purnataya tatpar hai.
Pranay, regarding your question about the demographic changes in border regions and the related concerns you raised….see, when the two Prime Ministers discussed the matter, the crucial aspect of our cooperation and collaboration is centered around the security and protection of both societies. Naturally, challenges arise in ensuring the security of both societies, and these challenges are not new; they have existed for some time. How both countries' institutions can jointly address these challenges, in what context they should address them, and the kind of cooperation and collaboration required in this regard was discussed between the two Prime Ministers. The discussions made it clear that both countries are sensitive towards the challenges related to each other's security and not only sensitive but also fully committed to enhancing their support and cooperation to mitigate these challenges.
Sridhar, there was another question relating to the…how significant is the trilateral cooperation between the two countries in the hydropower field? And I mean…are we referring to include other countries in this? Look, you've seen yourself hydropower cooperation specifically and power cooperation generally speaking, is a very important element of not just cooperation between India and other countries of region. So in this case, if you were to look at a power cooperation between India and Bangladesh stands on its own. India-Nepal, we have spoken extensively about it. The consideration that power trade should open between Nepal, through the Indian grid for Bangladesh is part of a larger thinking that we have a great opportunity, given the kind of power availability, power generating, power transmission network that exists in the region. There is an excellent opportunity to use power and power trade, including in the field of hydro power as a very important instrument of strengthening regional connectivity. This is the first effort in that direction wherein our objective is that 40 MW of power from Nepal could transit through the Indian grid and go to Bangladesh. What benefit would it entail to India? I think the better frame to look at that would be what benefit it would do to the region. And I think it brings in considerable and significant benefits to the region.
To the question…there were a couple of questions relating to elements involving China. The extent of whether that was discussed or not. You would have seen from my remarks…you would have seen everything that came out from the two Prime Ministers in their press remarks that overwhelming focus of discussions between the two Prime Ministers pretty much absolute focus of every single achievement and outcome that has come out of the visit is on strengthening India-Nepal partnership, particularly development partnership, and also strengthening and expanding areas of economic cooperation. When it came to discussions of the wider developments in the region, naturally, the two prime ministers discussed what are the developments in the region, what challenges they pose to our bilateral cooperation India-Nepal, and how exactly should India-Nepal cooperate to mitigate those challenges. That also was discussed between the two Prime Ministers. That's it pretty much. Treaty of friendship, etc. No, that didn't…that was not raised during the discussions between the two prime ministers.
Shri Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson: Thank you very much, Sir. Thanks also to Sri Naveen Srivastava, Ambassador, as well as Anurag Srivastava, Joint Secretary, North. Thank you all for joining us. Good afternoon.