India finalises deal to export power to Nepal

The announcement came at the end of Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s three-day visit to Nepal.

Sushma Swaraj, the Indian foreign minister, visits the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu yesterday while on a three-day official visit to Nepal, during which 26 cooperation agreements were reached. Prakash Mathema / AFP

KATMANDU, Nepal // India and Nepal are finalising an agreement to provide the energy-starved Himalayan nation with electricity.

Under the agreement, India would export electricity to Nepal and help build hydroelectric power plants.

The announcement came at the end of Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s three-day visit to Nepal. Both countries said in a statement they had agreed on 26 issues including finalising the power deal.

Nepal’s communist insurgency, which lasted until 2006, and ensuing political instability have hampered the construction of new power plants, and Nepal could not afford to map out an energy strategy on its own.

Nepal has suffered from major power shortages with consumers facing power cuts up to 12 hours daily because the power plants are able to meet only half the total demand.

No other details on the agreement were released.

India has a major influence over both the economy and politics in Nepal, and supplies all of Nepal’s oil needs and much of its trade.

Ms Swaraj is the highest-level official to visit Nepal since India elected a new government in May.

She left on Sunday after a three-day visit during which she met Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, President Ram Baran Yadav and led the Indian team at a joint commission meeting in Kathmandu.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is set to visit Kathmandu next month.

* Associated Press