BIMSTEC foreign ministers' meet beginning in Kathmandu today

BIMSTEC foreign ministers' meet beginning in Kathmandu today

Later she will attend inaugural session of the BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting to be inaugurated by PM Deuba.

It is unclear whether the Doklam issue was discussed with the Nepalese leadership although Ms Swaraj may well have conveyed India's point of view to Nepal on the matter. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang is also expected to land in Kathmandu on August 14. Swaraj, according to Bhattarai, told Deuba that India is all set to welcome him.

India's position on BIMSTEC is crucial, said a Nepali official. Following the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs (MoEA) in a social media message described India-Nepal ties as a "unique relationship of friendship and cooperation".

The visit of Deuba will further consolidate the bilateral ties where both sides will discuss the pending Indian projects in Nepal, including some energy, infrastructure and cross-border connectivity.

This was the first meeting between the two leaders since Deuba took over from Maoist leader Prachanda as Nepal's prime minister in June in a power-sharing deal. The two sides discussed an expanded bilateral agenda reflecting the updated national priorities of Nepal.

The 18th session of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Senior Officials' meeting held in Kathmandu on Thursday, recognising the importance of trade, energy and technology in regional cooperation, has underlined the need of early finalisation of BIMSTEC free trade area agreement. Both sides agreed that there are vast possibilities for cooperation in infrastructure, connectivity and energy.

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