Prime minister to visit both UN and China next monthDahal says Nepal will sign a power trade agreement with China during his visit timed with the Asian Games opening.
The dilemma over Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s proposed visits to the upcoming 78th United Nations General Assembly in New York and an official visit to China for the Asian Games is over.
With the dates for the two trips clashing, it would not have been possible for the prime minister to attend the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou on September 23 while also visiting the US for his UN General Assembly address scheduled for September 22.
After instructions from Kathmandu, Nepal’s Permanent Mission to New York had requested the United Nations headquarters to reschedule the prime minister’s address to the UN General Assembly.
A senior foreign ministry official confirmed Nepal’s request to the United Nations headquarters. “The date of the prime minister’s address has now been rescheduled to September 21.”
After addressing the general assembly, the prime minister will fly to China, straight from New York. As Dahal also has to attend the Sustainable Development Summit to be held on September 18 and 19, Dahal and the Nepali delegation will leave Kathmandu prior to that date, the foreign ministry official said.
The prime minister will participate in the SDG Summit as the chair of the Least Developed Countries and will meet foreign leaders and officials at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
Addressing a public function in Chitwan on Saturday, Dahal said he is going to participate in the UN General Assembly and also pay an official visit to the northern neighbour.
“During the UN visit, my focus will be on bringing investments in areas like agriculture, industry, tourism and energy.”
On the China visit, the prime minister said, there will be a new power trading agreement with China and soon, also with Bangladesh. “As per our friendship with both these countries, we will increase our energy production and trade with these two nations.”
Nepal has already signed a power trade agreement with India and under it, the country is now building and selling electricity to and from the southern neighbour.
“We have had very positive talks with China and Bangladesh with regard to the power trading agreements. We will sign separate understandings with the two countries soon. There is an agreement to export power to Bangladesh via India and we are planning to sign the agreement in Kathmandu at a special function,” said Dahal while addressing a public function to mark the World Youth Day.
“I had met the Bangladeshi prime minister in Italy where we discussed the country’s investment in Nepal’s agriculture and energy sectors,” said Dahal. “For the first time in Nepal’s history, the power produced in Nepal is going to be exported to Bangladesh via India.”
Dahal met his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina during the ‘United Nations Food Systems Summit plus two Stocktaking Moments’ held in Italy from July 24 to 26.
Dahal said that the government is trying to develop Budhi Gandaki and Karnali Chisapani hydroelectric projects, which would be instrumental in boosting energy trade and lifting the country’s economy.
“We would like to develop some game changer projects for energy trade to completely change the country’s economic landscape,” Dahal said. “If we can develop 10,000 megawatts, that will be a revolution and a game changer for Nepal’s economic development. That would also stop Nepali youths from seeking jobs abroad.”
He said he had serious discussions with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent India visit. “We agreed to increase agricultural production and organic production with the use of new technology,” said Dahal.
Dahal had been on an official visit to India from May 31 to June 2. “I am soon sending a team to India to discuss how we can cooperate in the agriculture sector. We have also agreed to set up a chemical fertiliser industry in Nepal with India’s support.”
Dahal added: “We have already agreed to trade power with Bangladesh via India. This agreement has enabled Nepal’s energy future. I am going to China and we are going to reach new agreements on developing hydropower and infrastructure projects. As with India, we have agreed to develop a cross-border transmission line with China via Rasuwa, which will be signed during my China visit,” said Dahal.
“The construction and development of two hydropower projects—Budhi Gnadaki and Karnali Chisapani—are the government’s top priorities.”
Dahal said the government’s international outreach is focused on expanding Nepal’s trade and that his focus would be on bringing about a revolution in the agriculture sector by learning from China.
He said that there is a big prospect for the modernisation of agriculture, increase in agricultural production and animal husbandry, where he wants Nepal to learn from the Chinese experience.
During an interview aired on Kantipur Television on June 22, the prime minister had declared that he would visit China as well as the US. He also made a similar commitment while speaking in Parliament after completing his May 29-June 2 India trip.