News Digest – International Relations & Foreign Affairs (February 25 – March 3, 2021)

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Nepal might export power to India: With Nepal producing surplus power by the end of this year, India and Nepal have taken a step towards allowing Nepal to export power to India. The two countries have introduced a procedure for approval and the process of power facilitation. The Central Electricity Authority of India on February 26 released a report explaining the procedure power export-import with neighbouring countries. However, there is a restrictive provision in the guidelines barring Nepal to export power from a third-country owned generation project.

Chinese firm to build a tunnel: China Overseas Engineering Co has been awarded the contract to build a tunnel for the Sunkoshi Marin Diversion Multipurpose Project. The company’s offer stood at Rs 10.05 billion which is nearly Rs 6 billion less than the price quoted by the government. This tunnel will redirect part of the flow of the Sunkoshi River to the Bagmati River to irrigate farmlands in the Terai region. The project is expected to complete in 27 months and the construction will begin as soon as the contract is signed.

Ministers break the foreign policy code: Nepal’s political turmoil has stimulated numerous meetings between political leaders of the country and foreign diplomats. However, the foreign ministry is unaware about these meetings and learned from it when it was shared on news portals. According to the foreign ministry, neither leaders nor embassies are following the protocol. The leaders have also criticised the diplomatic code of conduct which was introduced in 2011 but has still not been implemented and is as good as ‘dead’. In a few circumstances, even the party members are unaware of what transpires in the meeting.

India on the judgement-‘Nepal’s internal matter’: Indian Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava, on February 25 reiterated that Nepal’s current political scenario is purely an internal matter after the Lower House in Nepal was reinstated by the Supreme Court. Srivastava added that India hopes Nepal will resolve the issues through the democratic system.

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