March 3, 2017
At the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Shri Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Industry Minister Shri Nabindra Raj Joshi, the Finance Minister of India Shri Arun Jaitley paid an official visit to Kathmandu from 2-3 March 2017 to participate in the Nepal Investment Summit 2017.
2. During the visit, the Hon'ble Finance Minister addressed the investment summit and called on the Hon'ble President of Nepal Smt. Bidya Devi Bhandari and the Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Pushpa Kamal Dahal `Prachanda'. He held a bilateral meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Shri Krishna Bahadur Mahara who also hosted an official banquet for the Finance Minister on 2 March 2017. Industry Minister Shri Nabindra Raj Joshi held a breakfast meeting with the Finance Minister on 3 March 2017. The Finance Minister also paid obeisance at the Pashupati Nath Temple.
3. In his address at the Nepal Investment Summit, the Finance Minister shared India's experience in reforming its economy and attracting foreign direct investment. He stated that India and Nepal share deep-rooted historical, cultural and religious ties which have enabled the two countries to cooperate extensively in trade and economic fields. The two countries have open border and grant national treatment to each other's citizens. Millions of Nepali citizens live and work in India. India is Nepal's largest partner in trade and investment: more than 2/3rd of Nepal's trade is with India and India accounts for nearly 40% of total FDI in Nepal. With this wide ranging engagement, Nepal is well poised to attract further FDI from India by creation of a conducive legal and regulatory framework. Nepal has several important sectors such as hydropower, transmission lines, road and rail networks, health, education, tourism, irrigation, etc. in which it can attract significant Indian investments. Of particular interest in this context are projects of Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track road, second international airport at Nijgadh, Koshi High barn, etc. in which India is ready to invest.
4. In his bilateral meetings, the Honble Finance Minister conveyed India's abiding commitment to partner with Nepal in meeting its aspirations for socio-economic growth. Recalling the construction of several Integrated Check Posts, rail links, Hulaki roads, schools, health posts, etc. with Indian assistance, Shri Jaitley stated that India stands ready to make available more soft loans for new infrastructure projects which would enable Nepal grow at the fast pace.
5. In order to address the issue of high trade deficit, Shri Jaitley suggested that Nepal may expand its export basket by attracting more Indian investment in export-oriented industries. Further, the early completion of power projects likes Upper Karnali and Arun-III, Nepal would be able to export electricity to India. He urged that the issues of forest land and land acquisition which have delayed the projects should be resolved at the earliest.
6. The Nepali leaders thanked Shri Jaitley for India's development assistance and highly appreciated India's assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal. Deputy PM Shri Mahara in particular thanked the Government of India for facilitating export of nearly 380 MW of electricity throughout this winter which has enabled several regions of Nepal become free of load-shedding. The two countries now have transmission lines for trade of nearly 500 MW of electricity, which would increase to over 750 MW by mid-2017.
7. The Hon'ble Finance Minister's visit highlighted the importance that India attaches to its relations with Nepal. The meetings were held in a warm and friendly atmosphere, which traditionally characterise the relations between India and Nepal.
3 March 2017 Kathmandu