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Nepal-India to begin PTA talks from tomorrow

Nepal and India are starting negotiations on power trade agreement in New Delhi from tomorrow.

As the cabinet yesterday approved a seven-member team led by energy secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri to hold talks with the Indian team led by India’s energy secretary PK Sinha. Kshatri is leaving for New Delhi tomorrow for a meeting on power trade agreement.

Our team has been authorised to negotiate and conclude the agreement,” Kshatri said, adding that the initials would be done during New Delhi meeting and it will be approved by the cabinets of both the countries.

Earlier, Nepal and India had planned to sign the agreement during the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kathmandu on August 3-4. But the opposition protested asking the government for detailed study before signing the PTA.

On August 4, both the governments decided to conclude the negotiations within 45 days.

The government sent its updated draft to New Delhi as the opposition claimed the India-prepared draft was not in Nepal’s best interest. A three-member cross-party panel then prepared another PTA draft and forwarded it to New Delhi for approval.

The new PTA draft states the power tariff will be determined by the market while third parties will not be barred from making power deals in Nepal and India. It also added that the PTA will be valid for 25 years and it can be extended on the basis of mutual consent.