KATHMANDU, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Nepal and India have finally clinched the much anticipated power trading deal, officials said here on Friday.
The Agreement on Electric Power Trade and Cross-Border Transmission Interconnection and Grid Connectivity was signed by Nepal's Energy Secretary Rajendra Kishore Kshatri and his Indian counterpart Pradeep Kumar Sinha Thursday in New Delhi.
Nepal's power entrepreneurs and stakeholders believe that the deal was "historic" and would help Nepal to fully harness its huge hydropower potential which is estimated at around 45,000 MW commercially feasible power generation capacity.
Earlier, Nepal's meeting of Council of Ministers on Tuesday had formed a seven-member task force to negotiate with Indian side for signing the deal which Nepal had been seeking since last many decades.
Following that, the team left for India on
for a two- day-long negotiation in the headship of Energy Secretary, Kshatri.
"After holding four-hour-long discussion during the first day negotiation, the Indian side expressed readiness to sign the agreement upon the draft proposed by Nepali side," Nepal's Energy Minister, Radha Gyanwali told Xinhua Thursday evening.
The Nepali embassy in New Delhi issued a press release on Thursday saying that the agreement aims to enhance friendly relations and mutual trust between Nepal and India through increased cooperation in the field of transmission interconnection, grid connectivity and power trade.
"It (agreement) facilitates government, public and private enterprises in planning and construction of interconnection facilities and power trade," the press release said.
Earlier, there was much hue and cry in Nepal after the Indian government forwarded a draft of the agreement which according to the lawmakers and government officials, "was in mere favor of Indian government."
The draft forwarded by the Indian government on May 9, this year had sought 100 percent investment of Indian investors in development of hydropower projects in Nepal or only through the joint venture with Nepali partners.
The agreement, which needs to be endorsed by the cabinets of both countries, will initially run for 25 years, Gyanwali said.
With this agreement, Nepal will officially be energy exporter to India during the wet season and buy energy from the Southern neighbor during dry.
Following the agreement signing, Nepal and India also formed a secretary-level joint steering committee and joint secretary-level joint working group.