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Prachanda’s Split with Coalition Partner Sparks Political Turmoil in Nepal

The chasm has been reportedly widening between the two biggest parties in the Himalayan Kingdom…reports Asian Lite News

A reshuffle of the cabinet is on the cards in Nepal on Monday with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) severing its alliance with its coalition partner Nepali Congress.

The chasm has been reportedly widening between the two biggest parties in the Himalayan Kingdom over the claim for chairmanship of the National Assembly.

“Government to change today and the new Cabinet will be formed. Swearing in of ministers will also take place today,” Surendra Pandey, Vice Chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN- UML), said in a social media post on Monday.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ will reportedly induct ministers from the CPN-UML, Rashtriya Swatantra Party, and Janata Samajbadi Party apart from the CPN (Maoist Centre).

The move comes after PM Dahal met CPN-UML’s K.P. Sharma Oli, the former prime minister, on Sunday to discuss a new political alliance following a breakdown in their partnerships in 2020 as well as 2023.

The Kathmandu Post reported that PM Dahal will be sending over a letter to President Ramchandra Paudel on the reshuffle, and the new ministers will likely be administered an oath of office and secrecy on Monday evening.

Emerging from an officer bearers’ meeting on Monday, Maoist Centre leader, Devendra Paudel, said the step to join hands with the UML “was taken with a plan to forge a left unity for the long term”.

Paudel was quoted as saying in the daily that a new power equation was developed as the Nepali Congress was creating hindrances for the prime minister to perform.

Becoming the Prime Minister of the South Asian nation in December 2022 with the support of CPN-UML, Dahal cut cords with the party and shook hands with the Nepali Congress within months.

Dahal’s Maoist Centre party is the third biggest group in the 275-member parliament, in which a ruling alliance or party must have 138 votes of support.

ALSO READ: India, Nepal Foreign Secretaries Hold Bilateral Talks

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Nepal Imports 300,000 Indian Long-Stem Roses for Valentine’s Day”

Delhi, Bangalore, and Kolkata are the largest suppliers of red roses to Nepal…reports Asian Lite News

 As demand for red roses surge ahead of the Vakentine’s day, Nepal is importing over 3 lakh stems of long-stem roses from India.

Nepal Floriculture Association President Bahadur Tamag said: “The demands for red roses stand at 3,00,500. Only ten per cent of the total demands are met by local productions and we are forced to procure over 90 per cent roses from India to meet the demand during Valentine’s Day.”

Delhi, Bangalore, and Kolkata are the largest suppliers of red roses to Nepal, he added.

Only 23,000 rose stems will be fulfilled by the domestic market. A long stem rose costs Rs 80 to Rs 100. Out of the total demand, as much as 60 per cent will be consumed in Kathmandu and the rest will go outside Kathmandu.

With the pandemic almost over, there is excitement among the youths to celebrate Valentine’s Day just like before the Covid time.

“We failed to produce the roses to meet the domestic demands, said Tamang, adding that it is expected that rose trading around Valentine’s Day will surpass Rs 30.50 million.

India has been the regular market for Nepal for importing different kinds of floriculture products. Last year, only 100,800 stems of roses were sold out during Valentine’s Day but the number will grow significantly this year because of the no fear of any pandemic like Covid, said Tamang.

On average, Nepali traders sell out eight to 10,000 red roses during a normal day.

ALSO READ: Nepal Embassy in Oman organizes free Health Checkup camp

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Nepal Embassy in Oman organizes free Health Checkup camp

Speaking on the occasion the Ambassador, emphasized the community members to go for regular checkup as this will lead to a  healthy lifestyle…reports Vinod Raghavan

MUSCAT : As part of regular community services, Nepal Embassy in the Sultanate of Oman organized free Helath Check-up Camp alongwith Oman Cancer Association (OCA) and Badr Al Sama Hospital at the Embassy presmises here on a Friday weekly holiday.

Around 200 persons from the Nepal community members alongwith other expats attended the free Health Checkup camp and got thoroughly checkup of their blood sugar test, BMI measurement and also Mammography test.

Inspite of the weekly off, the medical and para medical staff of OCA and Badr Al Sama attended the people about their issues and also counselled them with related to their ailment.

Earlier, the programme was inaugurated by lighting the traditional Panas lamp by the Nepal Ambassador Dornath Aryal.

Speaking on the occasion the Ambassador, emphasized the community members to go for regular checkup as this will lead to a  healthy lifestyle.

He also thanked the medical and paramedical staff of OCA and Badr Al Sama hospital for their support and provide free health checkup services. He also thanked the sponsors E6 Holidays Travel Agency and Hamdan Exchange.

The participants also had fun and refreshments provided by Hamdan Exchange and some of them won lucky draw of free one-way Air ticket from Muscat to Kathmandu and some got Dolphin View ticket and gift hampers.

Members of Nepali Social Club and Nepal based Nepali organization participated and volunteered at the camp.

 With the opening up of the economy in the Sultanate of Oman, Westline Group of companies are spreading their wings in the Automobile spare parts market by opening their sixth showroom in the industrial township of Ghala in the Muscat governorate.

 After the inaugural ceremony, speaking to media personnel, Manikandan Kothot, Director, revealed that their sister concern – Empire Parts World, has been operating for the last 15 years dealing in spare parts of vehicles and are dealing in genuine and original spare parts of any vehicle either cars or trucks made in Japan or Korea.

He said, they are the dealers for Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Hyundai, Hino, Kia and also Indian companies Tata and Ashok Leyland.

He, further said that the company has big plans for the coming next two years, as they are planning to open 4 more showrooms in Salalah and Nizwa by 2025. With these showrooms coming up, they will be providing around 150 direct jobs to expats and nationals.

He was full of praise for the Oman authorities for the last one year, Oman has open up for entrepreneurs with simplifying rules and regulations in favour of investors.

ALSO READ-Nepal Deports Chinese NGO Head

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Nepal Deports Chinese NGO Head

Zhiqiang, from a Chinese NGO, arrived in Jajarkot for relief distribution, but local Maoist leaders, including KC, rejected the materials, citing them as substandard and unauthorized…reports Asian Lite News

The government of Nepal recently deported a Chinese lady who was running an NGO inside Nepal and staying illegally in the country.

Zou Zhiqiang, who was heading an NGO named ‘China Foundation for Rural Development’, triggered a controversy after a Maoist leader, Gorakh Bahadur KC, allegedly beat her up during relief distribution at Jajarkot in Western Nepal.

Zhiqiang, on behalf of the Chinese NGO, had reached Jajarkot for relief distribution but the local Maoist leaders, including KC, refused to accept the relief materials calling them substandard items which did not come through proper government channels.

Later, she filed a complaint with the local police station and the CPN (Maoist Centre), the ruling party in Nepal, alleging that KC and his team had beaten her up while she was on the way for relief distribution in Jajarkot.

Over 150 people were killed in the November 3 earthquake in Jajarkot.

One of the assistants of local Maoist leader KC had beaten her up on the spot while she was on the way to distribute relief materials. KC and other Maoist leaders accused her of distributing sub-standard relief materials and that the Chinese relief materials were part of corruption.

Dev Gurung, General Secretary of CPN (Maoist Centre), coordinated the relief distribution. Later, the Maoist Center’s central committee sought clarification from KC saying why had he beaten up the Chinese national.

KC, in his clarification, stated that she accused him of some baseless allegations and that the party General Secretary Gurung was involved in corruption in relief distribution. Gurung is known for being pro-Chinese leader of the Maoist party who in person took the Chinese lady to Jajarkot to facilitate the relief distribution work.

KC accused Gurung of promoting the Chinese NGO for his personal gains and benefits.

Later, the Maoist party launched an investigation against her and it was found she was living in Nepal illegally.

According to the document obtained by IANS, Home Secretary of Nepal, Dinesh Bhattarai, on December 18 decided to deport her and imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on her for overstaying.

As per the immigration rules of Nepal, the government has barred her from entering Nepal for one year, according to the decision taken by Bhattarai.

ALSO READ: BOULT expands global footprint, Enter Nepal

Asia News Business Nepal

BOULT expands global footprint, Enter Nepal

Earlier in 2023, BOULT continued its bullish growth in India with a strong retail expansion outlay by opening 5000+ stores pan India, strategically reaching customers in diverse regions…reports Asian Lite News

BOULT , the fastest-growing wearable brand in India, today added another feather to its strategic retail expansion plans by entering Nepal as the part of the global offline retail network. Jagadamba Mobiles Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of Shanker group will be the exclusive partners for BOULT in the country and will be driving the national distribution of the products.

Earlier in 2023, BOULT continued its bullish growth in India with a strong retail expansion outlay by opening 5000+ stores pan India, strategically reaching customers in diverse regions.

Speaking on the occasion, Varun Gupta, Co-founder, BOULT said, “We are thrilled to announce our expansion in Nepal with Jagdamba Mobiles Pvt Ltd. We have been constantly working towards strengthening our omni-channel presence and while we are already present in the US and the UK, it was important for us to continue our global retail expansion journey. This collaboration signifies our shared commitment to delivering cutting-edge wearable technology to the vibrant market of Nepal. Jagadamba Mobiles’ extensive reach and dedication align perfectly with our vision of making state-of-the-art tech more accessible to everyone. This marks a remarkable milestone in expanding our global footprint, and we look forward to a successful journey together.”

Commenting about the partnership with BOULT, Saksham Jatia, Executive Director of Jagdamba Mobiles Pvt. Ltd., said, “We are excited to join hands with BOULT, a brand synonymous with audio excellence. This collaboration reinforces our commitment to offering the latest in technology to our customers. BOULT’s range of audio products perfectly aligns with our vision of bringing innovative, top-quality devices to the fingertips of every Nepali consumer. Now they can look forward to choosing from a variety of smartwatches and TWS based on their specific requirements.”

“In the initial half of 2024, our strategic plan aims to achieve a market penetration of over 60% in Nepal, encompassing key towns and cities. Leveraging the expertise of our partner, Jagdamba Mobiles, who possesses a strong presence in the Nepalese market in terms of sales and distribution, we intend to collaborate on the introduction of a diverse range of products tailored to meet the specific needs of the Nepalese population. Our primary objective is to enhance accessibility to cutting-edge technology, making it more accessible to the people,” added Shantanu Singh, the Head of Offline Sales and Distribution, BOULT

BOULT will be introducing a host of products in Nepal ranging across smartwatches and TWS earbuds, catering to different consumer needs and preferences. The smartwatch collection, comprising the Ripple, Crown R Pro, Drift 2, Crown, and Dive X, embodies a fusion of sophisticated design and advanced functionality. Each model is meticulously crafted to cater to unique consumer preferences, offering a comprehensive array of features and capabilities. Complementing this, the TWS lineup, featuring Maverick, X10 Pro, K45, K35, K60, X70, and X45, exemplifies the company’s commitment to delivering a superior audio experience. These TWS models are anticipated to provide users with a seamless and high-fidelity wireless audio solution, characterized by innovative features and top-tier performance.

Boult’s journey, which began in 2017 with a focus on e-commerce, has now evolved to cater to the diverse needs of consumers across India. The positive retail expansion outside India is a testament to Boult’s commitment to reaching out to customers from all walks of life. In a span of just six years, Boult has risen to become one of India’s fastest-growing wearable brands. The brand’s online success is characterized by its outstanding sales figures and a remarkable 2 million plus 4+ star ratings on leading e-commerce platforms. Boult has climbed to the #2 spot in market share in the audio industry and secured an impressive #4 ranking in the Indian smartwatches sector in under eight months.

BOULT is a homegrown, high-end consumer electronic brand that designs and manufactures innovative audio and wearable products. The brand’s product portfolio includes headphones, speakers, smartwatches, and other categories of earphones like wireless, Bluetooth, in-ear, and more. BOULT was founded in June 2017 by two brothers, Varun and Tarun Gupta. BOULT is the 2nd largest audio company in India selling a headphone every 5 seconds. BOULT is the only consumer electronics brand in the country with its own design studio, where they conceptualize and meticulously design every product to build masterpieces that are best-sellers on every recognized e-commerce platform in the country, including their own website-

ALSO READ: Imran Khan, wife sentenced to 14 years in Toshakhana case

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Indian Pilgrims Welcomed to Take Mountain Flights Over Kailash Mansarova

Nepal’s Shree Airlines on Monday operated Mount Kailash and Manasarovar aerial tour with 38 Indian tourists on board….reports Asian Lite News

With Nepal’s Shree Airlines commencing operation from Nepalgunj Airport to Kailash Mansarovar, now Indians devotees can fly across Mount Kailash and the Mansarovar lake enjoying a magnificent close view of the holy places.

Nepal’s Shree Airlines on Monday operated Mount Kailash and Manasarovar aerial tour with 38 Indian tourists on board.

The Indian tourists were from New Delhi, Mumbai, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh.

With the resumption of chartered flights, now it is expected that Indian devotees can undertake the mountain flights from Nepal and take a tour across Manasarovar.

China had banned visiting Indian pilgrims after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 9N-AMB registration Bombardier CRJ-700 flew from Nepalgunj airport with 44 passengers, including foreigners and five crew members.

According to Shree Airlines, the flight was arranged in coordination with Temple Trip Group, India, Siddhartha Hospitality Group, Nepalgunj and Pathil Holidays, Kathmandu.

Thousands of Hindus visit Manasarovar via Nepalgunj – Humla, Nepal which is considered as shortest and cheapest route. Tourism entrepreneur Keshav Neupane said the mountain flight would help recover declining business and help identify tourism destinations for Indian tourists.

“At least one flight for Indian tourists in the season will contribute to boosting tourism activities,” he believed, adding that the view of the Kailash Mansarovar is an alluring site indeed. The flight time from Nepalgunj to Kailash Manasarover is 75 minutes, according to the organisers.

The flight commanded by Captain Prafull Vaidya and Captain Rajesh Shrestha flew at a height of 27,000 ft to provide a view of Manasarovar, a holy lake, and Kailash, the mountain revered as Lord Shiva’s abode.

“We are hopeful that the aerial flight of Mount Kailash and Mansarovar in Tibet will promote Nepal’s religious tourism,” the airline said in a statement.

The airline is planning to launch a package of Kailash-Manasarovar yatra from Nepalgunj and Pashupati in Kathmandu shortly.

Indian tourists who reached Kailash Mansarovar on a mountain flight from Nepalgung felt happiness. A hotelier in Nepalgunj, Punam Bhusal, said, “It certainly helps augment the tourism industry.”

The Kailash Mansarovar, located in Tibet, is a common holy site of Hindu and Buddhist people. It is visited largely by the Hindus from Nepal and India.

Mount Kailash is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage site and most of the devotes either use the route of Uttarakhand, India, or via Nepalgunj.

ALSO READ: Nepal PM Extends Republic Day Wishes to India

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Nepal PM Extends Republic Day Wishes to India

Nepal PM extended best wishes to PM Modi and India on its 75th Republic Day, wishing health, peace, and prosperity. Confident in our nations’ strong friendship…reports Asian Lite News

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal extended Republic Day wishes to India and expressed confidence over the strengthening of India-Nepal ties.

Taking to X, Nepal PMO said, “On the occasion of the 75th Republic Day of India, I extend my best wishes to PM Shri @narendramodi ji, the government and friendly people of India for good health, peace and prosperity. I am confident that the ties of friendship between our countries will continue to grow further.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu on Friday celebrated the 75th Republic Day and unfurled the national flag.

The Indian envoy to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava presided over the event and unfurled the flag.

Organizing an event on the lawn of the Embassy, hundreds of Indian nationals living in Nepal attended the ceremony where the address by Indian President Droupadi Murmu was also screened.

The Indian Ambassador referring to President Murmu’s address stated that India in the next 25 years aims to be amongst the developed nations; while doing so, the neighbours also would be given priority, the Indian Chief of Mission reiterated.

“We will not be becoming a developed nation or achieve our tasks unless we take our neighbours along and that is reflected in our neighbourhood first policy that Prime Minister Modi has been following for the last ten years. We see the fruits of that policy in our relations with Nepal. Last year was especially important- the visit of Prime Minister Prachanda in May-June of last year and earlier this month, the visit of the External Affairs Minister of India. These visits have embarked a new momentum and direction to our ties,” Ambassador Srivastava said addressing the event.

Indian envoy presented books to thirty educational institutions worth Nepal Rupee 19 lakhs (Rs 11 lakhs). On this occasion, the Ambassador felicitated widows and next of kin of deceased soldiers by disbursing their dues of NRs. 5.07 Crore (over Rs 3cr) and blankets. The Embassy also unveiled Bhu Puu-2024 magazine covering welfare initiatives of the Government of India for ex-servicemen domiciled in Nepal.

The celebrations witnessed renditions of patriotic songs and performances by students of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre of the Embassy and Kendriya Vidyalaya School, Kathmandu.

India is celebrating its momentous platinum celebrations of the country’s Republic Day with an enthralling showcase of its military prowess and rich cultural heritage at the majestic ‘Kartavya Path’ in the national capital.

Viksit Bharat’s rich cultural diversity, the ‘Aatmanirbhar’ military prowess and the growing Nari Shakti are the dominating themes of the 90-minute parade that will be graced by French President Emmanuel Macron as Chief Guest. (ANI)

ALSO READ: Nepal Minister Thanks Modi for Ram Temple Pran Pratishtha

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Nepal Minister Thanks Modi for Ram Temple Pran Pratishtha

The world has entered the era of Ram”, Nepal’s Union Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security, Sarat Singh Bhandari said as he unveiled a 25-foot-tall mural of Ram and Sita in Mahottari on the occasion of Pran Pratishtha. The Minister also thanked Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing all the Sanatan Hindus at one place and giving a reason to rejuvenate.

Speaking to ANI shortly after unveiling the 25-foot-tall mural Minister Bhandari stated that the initiative of Narendra Modi to build and reinstate Ram in Ayodhya has been an issue of great significance.

“I want to thank especially Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi whose initiative brought people scattered across the world to one place for Shree Ram which works as force. This indeed is an issue of great significance for us. The responsibility to protect the Sanatans, and culture which now lands on our shoulders, I feel that we are now entering a new era and it has started from today and we are entering the Yug of Shree Ram and reinstating it. We are taking forward all the virtues of Lord Ram, I again thank for this chance to rejuvenate and celebrate on behalf of all the Nepali,” Minister Bhandari told ANI.

“Today a new era has ushered all across the world. Today is an auspicious day for all the Sanatan Hindus and the whole world is echoing with chants of Ram. Maryada Purusottam Ram’s Sasural is here in Nepal, Janakpur in particular, the Pranpratistha which is being held in Ayodhya, we can see the people across the world celebrating and rejuvenating it and are considering themselves fortunate. It is an auspicious day and we are marking it with fanfare and gaiety,” the minister added.

Earlier in the day, the idol of Shri Ram Lalla was unveiled in the presence of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Ayodhya. Indian PM Narendra Modi led the rituals at the Pran Pratishtha ceremony in the sanctum sanctorum of the grand temple.

The magnificent Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir is constructed in traditional Nagara style. Its length (east-west) is 380 feet; width 250 feet and height is 161 feet; and is supported by a total of 392 pillars and 44 doors.

The pillars and walls of the temple showcase intricately sculpted depictions of Hindu deities, gods, and goddesses. In the main sanctum sanctorum at the ground floor, the childhood form of Bhagwan Shri Ram (the idol of Shri Ramlalla) has been placed.

The main entrance to the Mandir is situated on the eastern side, which can be approached by ascending 32 stairs through the Singh Dwar. There are a total of five Mandaps (Halls) in the Mandir – Nritya Mandap, Rang Mandap, Sabha Mandap, Prathana Mandap and Kirtan Mandap.

Near the Mandir is a historic Well (Sita koop), dating back to the ancient era. In the southwestern part of the Mandir complex, at Kuber Tila, the ancient Mandir of Bhagwan Shiv has been restored, along with the installation of a statue of Jatayu. Nepali Minister Bhandari also stated that the marriage of Ram and Sita has been a milestone to establish the concept of Roti-Beti in between India and Nepal.

“The relation that exists in between the two nations, the biggest of all- the relation of ‘Roti-beti’ has started from here when Lord Ram and Mata Sita got married this formalized the relation between the two nations and spread to the ground level amongst all the people. This is not just a religious and diplomatic relation, (Nepal and India) we have relation in between families’, relatives and brotherhood. The biggest amongst all, the Sanatan Dharma on the basis of which we all are celebrating it. We are celebrating here and we are very happy, we are celebrating it with pump,” Minister Bhandari told ANI.

The 25 foot-tall mural dedicating to Lord Ram and Goddess Sita in Matihani is made using ply-wood, the cut-out of Ram and Sita has been built with involvement of the local level government.

“This place, Matihani is also associated with Ramayana. When Ram and Sita had got married in Janakpur, there’s a tradition of Matkor in Mithilanchal, soil from Laxmi Sagar Pond was taken from here to make the Yaga. That’s why we also are linked with it and then the locals here and the local government decided to celebrate with gaiety and fervor and make a mural of Ram and Sita. The ply mural which has been prepared within 15 days and used 20 pieces of ply and it has a height of 25 feet,” Hari Prasad Mandal, Mayor of Matihani Municipality in Mahottari district told ANI.

The Janakpurdham, birthplace of Janaki or Sita, daughter of King Janak, got married to Lord Ram after breaking the divine bow of Shiva at a tournament organized by King Janak.

Dhanushadham, near Janakpurdham, possesses a fossilized fragment of that broken bow. Lord Ram had broken Shiva’s divine bow into three pieces, a condition for winning the hand of Sita in marriage. (ANI)

ALSO READ: PM Modi Lauds Judiciary, Calls Ram Temple Solution, Not Dispute

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Jaishankar Meets Nepal PM in Uganda

Jaishankar who is leading the Indian delegation at the Summit arrived in Kampala on Thursday….reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in Uganda to attend the 19th NAM Summit, met Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, on the sidelines of the summit on Friday.

“Meeting of Hon’ble EAM @DrSJaishankar with Rt. Hon’ble Prime Minister of Nepal @cmprachanda on sidelines of 19th NAM Summit,” posted the Indian Embassy in Nepal on X.

EAM Jaishankar also shared glimpses of the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, which commenced here on Friday.

The foreign minister can be seen meeting various foreign dignitaries participating in the tow-day summit.

Jaishankar who is leading the Indian delegation at the Summit arrived in Kampala on Thursday.

“Arrived in Kampala to represent India at the 19th NAM Summit. Looking forward to engaging colleagues over the coming two days,” Jaishankar said in a post on X.

The 19th NAM Summit under Uganda’s leadership is being held under the theme ‘Deepening Cooperation for Shared Global Affluence’ and brings together more than 120 developing countries on a platform of crucial historic significance.

The NAM is a forum of 120 countries that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc.

India wholeheartedly supports Uganda’s theme for NAM and looks forward to engaging with NAM countries. As one of the leading and founding members of NAM, India remains committed to the principles and values of the movement, according to a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs.

On the sidelines of the NAM Summit on Thursday, EAM Jaishankar held a meeting with counterparts from Egypt and Belarus

During the meeting, Jaishankar and his Belarusian counterpart Sergei Aleinik exchanged views on cooperation between India and Belarus in various sectors.

The two leaders spoke about developments related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Jaishankar took to social media platform X to share insights from the meeting held with Aleinik.

“A useful meeting with Belarusian FM Sergei Aleinik. Exchanged views on India- Belarus cooperation in various fields. Also discussed developments pertaining to the Ukraine conflict,” Jaishankar posted on X.

He also held a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry. The two leaders appreciated his assessment of the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

During the meeting, Jaishankar and Sameh Shoukry noted the continued progress of bilateral cooperation between the two nations.

Taking to X, Jaishankar stated, “Delighted to meet Egyptian FM Sameh Shoukry. Appreciate his assessment and insights on the ongoing conflict in Gaza. We also noted the continued progress of our bilateral cooperation following the exchange of visits of our leaders in 2023.”

In Kampala, Jaishankar also met Maldivian foreign minister Moosa Zameer and the two ministers exchanged views on the ongoing high-level discussions on the withdrawal of Indian military personnel. They further held discussions to expedite the completion of ongoing development projects in the Maldives and cooperation within SAARC and NAM.

Jaishankar met Angolan Foreign Minister Tete Antonio and held discussions on the expanding collaboration between India and Angola as well as broader India-Africa cooperation.

“Good meeting with Angolan FM @amb_tete. Discussed the expanding India-Angola and India-Africa cooperation. Also spoke about cooperation in multilateral fora. Thanked him for extending visa-free arrangement for Indian nationals,” said Jaishankar in a post on X. (ANI)

ALSO READ: EAM Jaishankar Heads to 19th NAM Summit in Uganda

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India Skeptical of Nepal’s Energy Deal with Chinese Firms, Says Prachanda

Nepal PM said that in the agreement with India, there is no mention of buying energy only produced by Indian companies….reports Asian Lite News

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” on Wednesday said that India has reservations over buying energy from the Himalayan nation produced by Chinese contractors.

Addressing a parliamentary committee meeting, he said though everyone is free to invest and produce energy in Nepal but as per long-term energy trade with India, New Delhi has reservations over buying energy produced by the Chinese companies/contractors.

During External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Nepal last week, the two neighbouring nations had signed an agreement on long-term power trade paving way for Kathmandu to export 10,000 megawatts of energy to New Delhi.

The agreement is valid for 25 years and subject to renewal every 10 years.

“India has reservations over energy produced directly by Chinese government companies… The Chinese have asked us to tell India that it’s not Chinese government owned companies but they were selected through the global competitive bidding process.

“As per India’s cross border energy trading guidelines, it will only buy electricity from Nepal produced only by the Indian or Nepali companies and investment,” Prachanda said.

He further said that in the agreement with India, there is no mention of buying energy only produced by Indian companies.

“We have requested India to consider to buy energy produced through the competitive bidding process whoever produces.”

As Nepal focusses on hydropower development to meet its own energy needs and export the surplus to neighbouring countries, a fresh study has identified that the Himalayan nation has the potential to harness over 72,000MW of hydropower across 10 major river basins and their sub-basins.

Nepal’s rich water resources were long known, as the country has approximately 6,000 rivers with a total length of 45,000 km.

The average annual water runoff from these rivers is about 220 billion cubic metres, according to an Asian Development Bank.

The 25-year long-term agreement was initiated when Dahal visited India from May 31 to June 3, 2023.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced during a joint press meet with Dahal that the neighbour would buy 10,000 MW of electricity in 10 years from Nepal under the long-term power trade agreement.

“Under this agreement, we have set a target of importing 10,000 MW electricity from Nepal in the coming 10 years,” Modi had said at the time.

Besides exporting power to India, there is a sharp increase in Indian investment in Nepal’s energy sector.

India’s SJVN Limited, which is developing the 900 MW Arun-3 Hydropower Project, has also been granted a license to develop the 669 MW Lower Arun Hydropower Project and the 490 MW Arun-4.

Arun-4 will be developed as a joint venture by the NEA and SJVN, which will have a majority stake.

Likewise, India’s NHPC Limited is also set to develop the 750 MW West Seti and the 450 MW Seti River-6 project.

Similarly, NHPC Limited and Vidyut Utpadan Company Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop the 480 MW Phukot Karnali Project during Dahal’s India visit.

Indian firm GMR is also making efforts to develop the 900 MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project.

“India is ready to take energy from Nepal but it has reservations over energy produced by the Chinese companies,” Prachanda said at the meeting.

“If energy produced by the Chinese companies through the global competitive bidding process, we have asked the Indian side not to understand it as produced by the Chinese companies or Chinese government.”

ALSO READ: Nepal, India review bilateral pacts