On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepali counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba jointly flagged off the first passenger train service between the two neighbouring nations. The launch of the much-awaited 35-km long cross-border railway link is set to connect Jaynagar in Bihar with Kurtha in Nepal. The duo also launched the RuPay digital payment application for Nepal.
PM Modi at the launch on April 2 said that the beginning of the Jayanagar-Kurtha rail line will help India in fostering trade and cross-border connectivity initiatives in all respects. “The project will make a great contribution to the smooth, hassle-free exchange of people between the two countries”, he said. The duo also jointly launched the RuPay card in Nepal and added a new chapter of financial connectivity between the two countries.
PM Narendra Modi & Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba jointly flag off the inaugural run of the cross-border passenger train services between Jaynagar (India) and Kurtha (Nepal). pic.twitter.com/WvsYvQgEKu— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2022
“We agreed on the subject of greater participation by Indian companies in Nepal’s hydropower development plans. It is a matter of happiness that Nepal is exporting its surplus power to India. It will contribute well to the economic progress of Nepal”, said PM Modi as the duo further jointly inaugurated the Solu Corridor 132 KV Power Transmission Line and Substation in Nepal built under Govt of India’s Line of Credit.
Delhi | PM Narendra Modi & Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba jointly inaugurate Solu Corridor 132 KV Power Transmission Line and Substation in Nepal built under Govt of India’s Line of Credit.— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2022
(Pic 2: DD) pic.twitter.com/T2JU2Q1xBZ
The leaders also held bilateral talks in Delhi and inked four important pacts to expand cooperation in the areas of railways and energy. Nepali PM Deuba is on a three-day visit to India, this being his first visit to the country after becoming the Prime Minister of Nepal. Deuba was scheduled to visit India earlier this year for the Vibrant Gujarat Conference but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Sher Bahadur Deuba lauded India’s management of COVID-19 and said Nepal received its first vaccine aid from New Delhi. “I admire the progress that India is making under the visionary leadership of PM Modi. We’ve seen India’s effective management battling Covid-19 and received first vaccine aid from India as well as medicines, medical equipment, and logistics to combat Covid,” Deuba said.
“As PM Modi mentioned, we had friendly talks and fruitful discussions on various aspects of India-Nepal relations. We shared our perspectives on further strengthening our friendly ties,” the Nepal PM added.
As PM Modi mentioned, we had friendly talks and fruitful discussions on various aspects of India-Nepal relations. We shared our perspectives on further strengthening our friendly ties: Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba issues a joint statement with PM Narendra Modi in Delhi pic.twitter.com/88gmMg5bMI— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2022
The Jaynagar Kurtha cross-border railway link, according to the reports, will be the first modern railway service in Nepal and will operate with five coaches. The Konkan Rail Corporation Limited has provided two sets of 1600 HP DEMU passenger rakes. The DEMU rakes which were handed over to Nepal in the year 2020 have 2AC coaches.
Further, the Jaynagar-Kurtha is a part of the 68.7 km Jaynagar-Bijalpura-Bardidas rail link. Jayanagar is 4 km from the India-Nepal border. The Government of India has spent nearly Rs 550 crore for the section up to Bijalpura which is 17 km from Kurtha.
It is important to note that Nepal shares a border with five Indian states- Sikkim, West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand. Nepal, being landlocked, heavily relies on India for the transportation of goods and services. PM Modi today stated that Nepal is an old friend of India and that relations between our people can’t be seen anywhere in the world.
Deuba ji is an old friend of India. As the PM, this is his fifth visit to India. He has played an important role in developing India-Nepal relations. The friendship between India & Nepal, relation b/w our people – such an example can’t be seen anywhere else in the world: PM Modi pic.twitter.com/MXFM5QH4Ux— ANI (@ANI) April 2, 2022
Interestingly, Nepal also became a member of the International Solar Alliance. The two countries discussed various aspects of cooperation and also reviewed the progress of the ongoing projects. India reiterated its support for Nepal’s journey of peace, prosperity, and development.