Swaraj arrives in Kathmandu for 15th BIMSTEC meeting

Sushma Swaraj

Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said today his country "unreservedly" condemns terrorism in all its forms as he called for greater regional connectivity and integration for the collective prosperity.

According to Dinesh Bhattarai, foreign relations advisor to Deuba, the meeting focused in particular on Deuba's upcoming state visit to India beginning August 23.

Swaraj is learnt to have conveyed to the Nepali side that India is eagerly waiting to welcome Deuba in New Delhi. This will be his maiden foreign visit since taking over in June as part of a power-sharing agreement.

Member countries are closely watching India's efforts to promote Bimstec after a stalemate in the functioning of Saarc because of differences in opinion between New Delhi and Islamabad, diplomatic sources said.

Our Kathmandu correspondent reports that keeping in view the PM Deuba's forthcoming visit to India, External Affairs Minister's meeting with him assumes significance.

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The foreign ministers of Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan are participating in BIMSTEC ministerial meeting while Myanmar and Thailand have sent their deputy foreign ministers.

Some projects like the Mahakali Treaty, including the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, one polytechnic institute in the far-west region, Upper Karnali, Arun III, east-west railway, cross-border connectivity including rail and road, issues of inundation, floods and irrigation and energy cooperation are some of the projects that have failed to make much headway even though they have been discussed several times in the past.

After meeting with Deuba, Swaraj also met with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at the president's office where the two discussed strengthening bilateral ties.

Officials said Sushma Swaraj will also take stock of latest political developments in Nepal. "The two sides discussed ways to enhance cultural linkages". Both sides agreed that there are vast possibilities for cooperation in infrastructure, connectivity and energy.

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