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'Modi's visit can be opportunity to reduce trade deficit'



KATHMANDU: Former Foreign Affairs Ministers representing various political parties stressed on the need of an immediate agreement with India about hydropower development in Nepal in order to reduce trade deficit with the southern neighbour.

Speaking at an interaction at the Reporters’ Club in the Capital on Wednesday, former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal next week is an opportunity for the nation to reduce its trade deficit with India.

Stating that Modi came up with a policy of ‘neighbours first’ and stressed on regional development, Koirala, who also heads International Department of the party, said Nepal can get a lot from the visit.

Koirala went on to claim that some leaders of political parties objected to the proposed Nepal-India hydropower deal ‘out of immaturity.’ “We need to change it and move forward confidently,” added Koirala.

Speaking at the same function, former Foreign Affairs Minister and Chairman of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal (MJF-N) Upendra Yadav said Nepal and India should draft a new roadmap of cooperation in the changed scenario.

Appreciating Modi’s focus on regional development, he said that the two countries should sign the power trade agreement taking into account interest of both nations.

Yadav also suggested the government to discuss status of implementation of previous agreements with India during Modi’s visit.

Another former Minister for Foreign Affairs and Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) leader Prakash Chandra Lohani demanded implementation of previous treaties and contracts before signing new agreements.

Foreign affairs expert and former Foreign Affairs Minister Bhekh Bahadur Thapa suggested the government to take Modi’s visit as a goodwill visit than for financial transactions.

He said Nepal and India can strengthen their ties at a new level if both countries continued bilateral talks with trust.

Speaking at the function, CPN-UML Secretary Pradip Gyawali and UCPN-Maoist Vice-Chairman Post Bahadur Bogati suggested the government to use Modi’s visit as an opportunity to develop the two-country relation to a new height.

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