India is ready to provide more soft loans for new infrastructure projects to Nepal, finance minister Arun Jaitley has said, while asking it to develop a conducive legal and regulatory framework to attract more FDI.
Addressing the ‘Nepal Investment Summit 2017’ in Kathmandu on Thursday, Jaitley said that with “early completion of power projects like Upper Karnali and Arun-III, Nepal would be able to export electricity to India”.
The issues of forest land and land acquisition which have delayed the projects should be resolved at the earliest, he added.
Over 66% of Nepal’s trade is with India, which is its largest trading partner. India also accounts for nearly 40 per cent of total FDI flow to the neighbouring country.
Nepal has several important sectors that can attract Indian investments such as hydropower, transmission lines, road and rail networks, health, education, tourism and irrigation.
Jaitley shared India’s experience in reforming its economy and asked the country to take steps to expand bilateral trade.
The two nations share deep-rooted ties which have enabled extensive cooperation in trade and economic fields, he said.
“India and Nepal have wide ranging engagement in trade and investment and that Nepal is well poised to attract further FDI from India by creation of a conducive legal and regulatory framework.
“India is ready to invest in the projects of Kathmandu- Nijgadh fast track road, second international airport at Nijgadh, Koshi High Dam etc,” Jaitley said.
Recalling the construction of several Integrated Check Posts, rail links, Hulaki roads, schools and health posts with Indian assistance, he said “India stands ready to make available more soft loans for new infrastructure projects which would enable Nepal grow at a fast pace”.
Jaitley called on Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. He also held meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi.
The minister conveyed India’s abiding commitment to partner with Nepal in meeting its aspirations for socio- economic growth.
In order to address the issue of high trade deficit, he suggested that Nepal could expand its export basket by attracting more Indian investment in export-oriented industries.
A finance ministry statement said the Nepali leaders thanked Jaitley for India’s development assistance and also appreciated assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.