(Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met with his Nepalese counterpart Sher Bahadur Deuba for the first time after he became the premier of the Himalayan nation in July and had a "productive discussion" on ways to further strengthen the close bilateral ties and combat climate change, Covid-19 and facilitate post-pandemic recovery.
The meeting between Modi and Deuba took place on the sidelines of the UN conference on climate change in Glasgow. PM Modi had recently launched the Initiative for the Resilient Island States (IRIS) for developing infrastructure of small island nations. He tweeted,
Had a productive discussion with PM @SherBDeuba on multiple aspects of the India-Nepal friendship. Subjects relating to fighting the global pandemic and furthering sustainable development are key parts of our bilateral friendship. pic.twitter.com/JKtMbXgb9X— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 2, 2021
Both leaders discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral cooperation, including in the context of ongoing efforts against the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
“The two leaders noted the excellent cooperation between India and Nepal during the pandemic, particularly through the supply of vaccines, medicines and medical equipment from India to Nepal as well as by ensuring the free flow of goods across the borders,” it said.
Post-pandemic recovery was also an issue both the countries agreed to work together on, the MEA added.
It was their first engagement since Deuba, President of the Nepali Congress, became the Prime Minister of Nepal in July for the fifth time.
On Monday, Prime Minister Modi interacted with several world leaders, including Deuba, on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit.
“Met PM @SherBDeuba in Glasgow. It is important we keep working together for sustainable development. He rightly highlighted the threat of climate change to the Himalayan region,” Modi tweeted along with a photo with Deuba.
Deuba then tagged Modi’s tweet about their meeting and said he was glad.
“Glad to have met PM @Narendramodiji at @COP26. Sustainable development is vital — especially for the future of our shared Himalayan region, which is particularly vulnerable. I thank him for highlighting this and stressing the importance of working together!,” the Nepal Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Modi had immediately congratulated Deuba after the veteran Nepalese leader won a vote of confidence in the reinstated House of Representatives in July.
Deuba had thanked his Indian counterpart for the congratulatory message and said he shared views with him on further strengthening ties between the two neighbouring countries during a cordial telephone conversation.
The bilateral ties came under strain under former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli after India opened an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8, 2020.
India, the world's largest producer of vaccines overall, suspended exports of Covid-19 vaccines in April to focus on inoculating its own population following a sudden spike in infections.
In September, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced that India will resume the supplies abroad.
The Indian government last month permitted the Serum Institute of India (SII) to export 10 lakh Covishield doses to Nepal.
The Covid-19 vaccine Covishied has been developed by SII in collaboration with Oxford University and AstraZeneca under technology transfer.
Nepal had in January launched a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive with the one million doses of vaccine provided by India under the grant assistance in sync with its 'Neighbourhood First' policy.
In a separate bilateral meeting, Prime Minister Modi also met Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and exchanged views on bilateral and regional developments.
"Had a wonderful meeting with President @ZelenskyyUa. Our talks will give new vigour to the friendship between India and Ukraine," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.
The leaders took stock of the state of bilateral relations and exchanged views on developments in the region, the MEA said.
They expressed satisfaction on the cooperation during the pandemic times including mutual recognition of Covid vaccination certificates by both countries, it said.
Prime Minister Modi thanked President Zelenskyy for his humanitarian gesture of supplying oxygen concentrators to India during the second phase of Covid pandemic earlier this year, the MEA said.
The two leaders positively assessed the strong people to people connect between the two countries, especially the large number of Indian students studying in various Universities of Ukraine, it said, adding that they reaffirmed their readiness to work together for further strengthening of bilateral relations. Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs retweeted,
PM @narendramodi had a wonderful meeting with the President of Ukraine @ZelenskyyUa. They reviewed the full range of bilateral relations agreed to strengthen cooperation in commerce, culture and other spheres. pic.twitter.com/dfeJU9160r— PMO India (@PMOIndia) November 2, 2021
(With PTI Inputs)