In a first, five-cluster approach is being used for a joint commission meet
Shreerupa Mitra-Jha | July 23, 2014 | New Delhi
Having visited Bangladesh last month, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj would make her second solo visit to Nepal between July 25 and 27. Swaraj is slated to preside over a joint commission meeting to be held after 23 years in the neighbouring country.
This is the first time that a five-cluster approach is being used for a joint commission. The first cluster would be political, security and border issues. The second one is an economic and infrastructure cluster, the third related to trade and transit, the fourth power and water resources, while the fifth cluster is culture, education and media.
Official MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that New Delhi places a lot of importance on India’s neighbours and that barring Bangladesh all heads of state of Saarc nations had attended the swearing-in ceremony of prime minister Narendra Modi.
The minister’s delegation consists of officials from the ministries of power, water resources, commerce, railways, culture and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), it was announced.
Swaraj will call on Nepal's prime minister, president and a cross section of the country’s political leadership. Asked whether Swaraj would meet Maoist leader Prachanda, Akbaruddin said, "It is not unusual for leaders to meet Prachanda."
The Indian commerce minister is also going for a Saarc meeting.
India and Nepal have 25 bilateral mechanisms in place. Bilateral trade between the two countries is worth $4.7 billion, and 47 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nepal comes from India. There are 6 million people of Nepalese origin living in India, while 20 percent of all tourists visiting Nepal are from India.
India and Nepal have an open border.
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