India willing to buy power from Nepal: Farooq Abdullah

Kathmandu, Dec 21 : India is willing to invest in Nepal's potential hydropower sector and purchase electricity generated in the Himalayan country, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah has said.

The Indian government recently included energy in the list of tradable commodities and Kathmandu and New Delhi should work together to harness hydropower, Abdullah said Friday while inaugurating the "India Investrade 2013" exhibition-cum-business meeting here.

The three-day meet is being organised jointly by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kolkata, and Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) in association with India's ministry of commerce and industry and the Indian embassy in Nepal.

Abdullah Saturday met Khil Raj Regmi, the chairman of Nepal's Interim Election Council, and congratulated him for successfully holding elections for the Constituent Assembly.

The minister extended best wishes from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and hoped that peace and development will gain momentum in Nepal.

Officials said India played a very crucial role in the Nepal elections. It provided two choppers, 700 vehicles and other logistics.

Inaugurating the exhibition Friday, Abdullah said there was a need to increase Indian investment in Nepal, particularly in the energy sector.

He said India was willing to invest in Nepal's potential hydropower sector and also purchase electricity generated in Nepal.

"Nepal can reduce trade deficit with India by selling energy to it. We (Nepal and India) should work together for mutual benefits," the minister said.

Abdullah also offered India's help to Nepal in transfer of solar energy technology.

Abdullah also mentioned the long-standing relationship between Nepal and India, during the meeting with Regmi.

He offered to work together in a spirit of partnership and dignity to achieve economic development and prosperity, said a statement issued here by Regmi's office.

Abdullah also shared India's achievements and experiences in the field of new and renewable energy and asked Nepal to follow it up.

Regmi thanked India for its support in the elections.

He hoped that bilateral relations will mature in the days to come and said Nepal will achieve economic recovery and peace that will pave the way for investment and development.

He said Nepal was always ready to work with India and that they can enter into a partnership for the benefit of both countries.

Abdullah also paid a courtesy call on Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, S.R. Rao, secretary in India's ministry of commerce and industry, said India can provide electro-mechanical engineering services to Nepal for hydropower development.

He said Indian investors have been putting in money around the globe instead of coming to Nepal, which was closer and which shared cultural ties with India.

Anil Razdan, former energy secretary of India, said Nepal should create an investment-friendly environment to attract Indian investors.

"Political consensus and certainty of law and regulation is a must to draw investment from India in the hydropower sector," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 21-12-2013)

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