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India, Nepal agree to broaden vistas of cooperation

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) India and Nepal will continue with their mutual cooperation in development partnership and Covid collaboration, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Thursday after speaking to his Nepal counterpart Narayan Khadka over a New Year call.

Both countries have also agreed to broaden the vistas of cooperation, said the Union minister.

"Just finished a New Year call with FM Dr. Narayan Khadka of Nepal. Was an opportunity to recognize progress on so many fronts. Our Development Partnership and Covid collaboration have been noteworthy. Agreed to broaden the vistas of our cooperation," Jaishankar tweeted.

Since the beginning of the Vaccine Maitri Programme in January 2021, India has supplied 723.435 lakh doses to 94 countries and two UN entities in the form of grant, commercial export or through COVAX, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to Covid vaccines.

After holding vaccine exports for some time to cater to domestic demand first, India has supplied vaccine doses to several countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Iran, Paraguay and Indonesia.

As far as Nepal is concerned, India supplied 51.57 lakhs doses of vaccine to the Himalayan nation till December, 2021.

Indian firms are the biggest investors in Nepal, accounting for about 40 per cent of total approved foreign direct investments. Some large Indian investors include ITC, Dabur India, Hindustan Unilever, VSNL, TCIL, MTNL, SBI, PNB, LIC, Asian Paints, CONCOR, GMR India, Bhushan Group and Tata Power, among others.

There are about 150 operating Indian ventures in Nepal. They are engaged in manufacturing, services (banking, insurance, dry port, education and telecom), power sector and tourism industries.

Till July 15, 2013, the government of Nepal had approved a total of 2,652 foreign investment projects with proposed FDI of Rs 6,325.50 crore. Indian ventures led the list with 566 projects and proposed FDI of Rs 2,539.2 crore.