KATHMANDU Reuters: During his visit to New Delhi starting on Wednesday, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal will press for the development of new aviation routes through India as well as a long-term agreement to export hydroelectric power from Nepal.

Dahal’s four-day trip is his first overseas excursion since being re-elected prime minister in December. In his two prior terms as prime minister, beginning in 2008, he made two trips to India.

The tour highlights the close connections between the neighbours and is customary for new Nepali presidents to make their first stop abroad after taking office in New Delhi.

Nepal is looking for long-term energy agreements, including increased Indian investment in hydropower projects and the building of transmission lines between the two nations, according to Foreign Minister Narayan Prakash Saud.

According to Saud, “We also want India to facilitate the export of our electricity to Bangladesh.”

Nepal intends to produce roughly 3,500 megawatts by next year in order to meet its domestic need of 2,000 megawatts while having the capacity to create up to 42,000 megawatts of hydroelectric electricity.

India, Kathmandu’s largest trading partner and a country that is power-hungry, is where Kathmandu wants to export the extra energy.

In order to increase its influence among its smaller neighbours, where China is also becoming more active, India is spending billions of dollars in infrastructure, including hydropower projects.

Dahal will compel India to let planes to enter and depart Nepal’s airspace at three additional sites along their border during the visit.

According to authorities, that would increase air traffic to two new international airports, one in the tourist destination of Pokhara and the other close to Lumbini, the location of Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.

According to Jannath Niroula, a spokeswoman for the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), “this will reduce fuel consumption and make flights cheaper by about 15 minutes to and from the west.”

Dahal, a 68-year-old former commander of the Maoist rebels, will meet Narendra Modi on Thursday.

Since becoming the prime minister of India in 2014, Modi has made five trips to Nepal, the most recent of which was in May 2022.

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