Calling India-Nepal relations “tall as the Himalayas and as deep as the Indian Ocean,” Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat said Thursday that India’s goodwill towards its neighbours comes with no strings attached” but without naming China, CDS Rawat cautioned Kathmandu to be careful when signing agreements with other countries in the region.
“…the canvas and spread of cooperation, friendship and people to people contact between India and Nepal are deep and extensive. But in the present age, Nepal is also opening to other nations including China based on its independent foreign policy,” said General Rawat during the second annual dialogue with the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement (NIICE) during the virtual meeting.
Speaking on the theme of “Soft Power Dimension: India-Nepal Relations,” CDS Rawat said, “India’s goodwill comes with no strings attached. Nepal is free to act independently in international affairs but must be vigilant and learn from Sri Lanka and other nations which have also signed agreements with other countries in the region.”
General Bipin Rawat said that it is important to further strengthen the current partnership for peace and prosperity for both countries that are now “inseparable in every way.”
Talking about economic ties between the two countries, CDS Rawat said, “India’s economic relations with Nepal is quite unique although much more could be done. In 2019-2020 economic assistance has crossed Rs 12 billion for development in the various sector of the economy such as agriculture, water resources, energy infrastructure and the list can go on and on.”
“The total bilateral trade has reached to the extend USD 8.27 billion. India’s exports for the same have been around USD 7.76 billion while the imports into India from Nepal has been USD 508 million,” General Rawat said.
CDS said that India accounts for more than 30% of foreign direct investment in Nepal and more than 150 Indian ventures are also involved in various fields in Nepal.
“The balance of trade is very much in India’s favour, considering the many important products to be imported from India to Nepal. In terms of investment, India accounts for more than 30% of foreign direct investment in Nepal and more than 150 Indian companies operate successfully in Nepal in various fields such as manufacturing, services, banking, insurance, education, telecommunications, etc.
While concluding his speech, CDS Rawat reiterated the importance of the bilateral relationship, saying that “India and Nepal are unique and have been in existence for centuries and the bonds are so pure and so strong that aspiration, goodwill and spirituality between these two nations are as tall as the Himalayas and as deep as the Indian Ocean.”
(With inputs from ANI)

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