BIMSTEC general secretary visits Nepal to discuss trade and investment
Secretary-General of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Tenzin Lekphell called on Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Khadka at the latter’s office this afternoon.
Stating that the Fourth BIMS- TEC Summit held here was an important milestone in streamlining the areas of cooperation and institutional strengthening of the organisation, the secretary-general appreciated Nepal’s contributions in advancing the BIMSTEC process.
Minister Khadka commended the secretary-general for his leadership and expressed Nepal’s commitment to contribute constructively to help BIMSTEC make further advances. He underlined the need to ensure that the fifth summit to be held in 2022 builds on the progress made thus far and provides important breakthroughs towards realising the regional aspirations.
Both sides assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and societies in the region and underlined the imperative to work in closer cooperation through BIMSTEC framework.
Earlier today, Lekphell paid courtesy calls to Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Pampha Bhusal and Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prem Bahadur Ale.
During his meeting with Minister Bhusal, Lekphell said that the implementation of the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection with priority would be beneficial for all member nations, and he stressed that this matter should be the concern of the Nepal government as well. The secretary-general of the regional economic bloc said a setting up of BIMSTEC Energy Centre said to be established in Bangalore, India should be the priority of all member countries.
In response, the Minister Bhusal said the use of hydropower and its promotion at the BIMSTEC-level were interconnected, citing that she was ready to take all measures for the same.
Minister Bhusal said hydropower is a significant issue for Nepal and pledged to set the date for the BIMSTEC Energy Ministerial Meeting at an appropriate time.
“The date will be announced at a convenient time for all the members and we will proceed towards that end with the appointment of a focal person.”
It may be noted that the 2010 BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting handed the responsibility of organising the Energy Ministerial Meeting to Nepal.
Lekphell also called on Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and Secretary of Commerce and Supplies Dinesh Bhattarai today.
Matters such as trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contact as well as broader issues of Nepal-BIMSTEC cooperation were discussed in these meetings.
The secretary-general is scheduled to call on the President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba tomorrow.
Lekphell is on a four-day introductory visit to Nepal from January 3 to 6.