Jaitley pitches for greater Indian investment in Nepal

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, March 2 (IANS) Visiting Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday pitched for greater Indian investment in Nepal, saying that India wants partnership with Nepal in various sectors.

Earlier in the day, Jaitley arrived here to deliver the keynote speech at the "Nepal Investment Summit - 2017" and held talks with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' and his counterpart Krishna Bahadur Mahara, among others.

In his meeting with Prachanda, Jaitley said that foreign direct investment (FDI) was a key driver for development in countries like Nepal, and assured that India was ready to partner with Nepal in its development aspirations and endeavours.

Prachanda thanked Jaitley for India's support to Nepal for constructing roads, extension of cross-border transmission lines, bridges and the recent approval for the Arun-III project, in which the Indian government has decided to put in over Indian Rupees (IRs) 57 billion.

He further urged India to invest in Nepal's hydropower, tourism and agriculture sectors, according to a statement from the Prime Minister's Office here.

They also briefly touched upon the political developments in Nepal. Prachanda apprised Jaitley of his government's efforts to ensure implementation of the Constitution and the steps it had been taking for the last seven months in that direction.

"Once the Constitution's implementation begins, Nepal will enter the phase of economic development and prosperity," he told Jaitley.

Delivering the keynote speech at the investment summit, the Indian Finance Minister also assured Prachanda of assistance in various fields.

"India is committed to partner with Nepal in its aspirations for growth, to invest in hydropower, to connect with India's rail network, irrigation, health and education sectors, transmission lines, roads and bridges and others," he said.

India has proposed five cross-border railway lines with Nepal and two direct rail links between Kathmandu and Delhi, and Kathmandu and Kolkata.

While giving a mantra for development, Jaitley said: "Hardworking people of Nepal, the government and the positive policy framework are a great opportunity for investment."

"Nepal can be developed through proper utilisation of natural resources," Jaitley said, adding that there were investment opportunities in Nepal's energy, agriculture, tourism and irrigation sectors. He also said there was scope for investment in cultural and religious tourism as well.

Jaitley also stressed the need for policy reforms for attracting more investment as well as infrastructure development, adding that the state should adopt a durable tax policy for expanding investments.

--IANS

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