After a two-year hiatus, the Nepal-india Committee on Water Resources has resumed talks. The sixteen member Nepalese delegation led by Nepal’s Energy Secretary, Balananda Poudel, met with the twenty-member delegation headed by Indian Water Resources Secretary, Dhruv Vijay Singh. The two-day meeting discussed hydropower projects, such as the Pancheswor and Sapta Koshihigh dams that previously failed to develop, addressed the Sunkoshi-kamala diversion project and proposed a framework for a bilateral power trade agreement.
Nepal currently imports 134 MW from India but will be able to import an additional 150 MW, if Rs.29 crore is spent to develop its infrastructure. A sharing of real-time flood data, proposed by the delegates, will also help alleviate flood damage in the region.
The revival of such meetings is seen as a positive step in both countries and signals the seriousness of climate change and natural disaster occurrence in South Asia. With India expanding its trade in the region at large, neighboring Nepal could be an excellent trade and strategic partner.
During the meetings however, the Indian delegation expressed a level of hesitancy to discuss long-term effects due to political instability in Nepal. Development projects require approval from a two-thirds majority in the Nepalese Parliament. Like previous bilateral projects that have been stalled, India is apprehensive to make the same mistake again.