Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart Khadga Prasad Oli issued a joint statement on Saturday in New Delhi after holding bilateral discussions. Modi and Oli inaugurated the India-Nepal petroleum products pipeline, and agreed to work on a new railway line connecting Nepal’s Capital Kathmandu to India.
“There is a long history of India’s contribution towards Nepal’s development,” Modi said. “I have assured Prime Minister Oli that this will continue in future. We aim at improving waterways and railways with Nepal. Today we reviewed the progress in various such connectivity projects.”
Modi also said that the two governments were committed to preventing the misuse of the open border between India and Nepal.
“Nepal attaches great importance to its relations with India,” Oli said. “Our countries enjoy age-old historical ties and have many things to offer to each other.” He added that he had invited Modi to visit Nepal “at the earliest convenient time”.
Oli received a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan earlier in the day and met President Ram Nath Kovind.
Oli told reporters after his reception that friendship between India and Nepal was of primary importance. “Any treaty, any agreement, everything starts from friendship,” he said. “With our neighbours, particularly with India, we first expect friendship.”
The Nepal prime minister, who is on a three-day visit, will attend a conclave with top Indian leaders including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj later in the day.
Oli had met Modi at the Indian prime minister’s official residence in a “courtesy meeting” on Friday evening, which lasted about 90 minutes, The Himalayan Times reported. Oli told the Nepali delegation after the meeting that “serious discussions” were held. “Given any misunderstandings between us have already been eliminated, the talks took place in a very cordial and harmonious environment,” he said.
The Nepali prime minister had also met Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday.