Friday, March 31, 2006

Nepal, India renew Transit Treaty

Kathmandu March 31-Nepal and India renewed the Nepal-India Transit Treaty for the next seven years on Friday.

In a press statement, the Ministry of Industries, Commerce and Supplies said the transit treaty has been renewed for another seven years with effect from January 6, 2006.

Accordingly, the Nepal government agreed to permit India to use Nepali land if the latter required it for transporting goods from one part of India to another. The previous transit provisions would allow only Nepal to use the Indian soil for transportation of goods from one part of Nepal to another.

The two governments also agreed to maintain the existing 15 transit points as they are. There were speculations that the Indian government had demanded for reduction of the number of transit points.

According to the new agreement, Nepal has agreed to transport sensitive goods only through certain transit points. Transportation of the goods with the tag ‘sensitive’ by India would only be through seven transit points namely Kakarvitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj, Mahendra Nagar and Birgunj Dry Port connecting Kolkata, in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Other normal goods can be transported through any of the 15 transit points. India had left it to Nepal to name the transit points for the transportation of sensitive goods.

The agreement has made no changes in the provision regarding the transit highway being used by Nepal to connect Bangladesh. Nepal will continue to use the Phulbari and Radhikapur transit highways, connecting Bangladesh and Kakarvitta in the eastern border of Nepal, for trade with Bangladesh and other third countries.

The treaty was renewed after secretary at the Ministry of Industries, Commerce and Supplies, Bharat Bahadur Thapa, of Nepal and commerce secretary of the Government of India, N. N. Menon, exchanged the letters for the renewal of the treaty on Thursday. The treaty had expired on January 6 after which the two governments agreed to extend it for the next three months .

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