India to make available more soft loans for new infrastructure projects in Nepal: Jaitley

New Delhi [India], Mar 3 : Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is attending the Nepal Investment Summit 2017 at Kathmandu, has stated that New Delhi is Kathmandu's largest partner in trade and investment with more than two-third of the country's trade being with India, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total FDI in Nepal.

"Nepal is well poised to attract further FDI from India by creation of a conducive legal and regulatory framework," said Jaitley while addressing the Nepal Investment Summit.

While sharing his views on India's experience in reforming its economy and attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Jaitley said that India and Nepal have wide ranging engagement in trade and investment.

He further said that New Delhi and Kathmandu share deep-rooted historical, cultural and religious ties, which have enabled extensive cooperation in trade and economic fields between the two countries.

"The two countries have open border, grant national treatment to each other's citizens and millions of Nepali citizens live and work in India. Nepal has several important sectors such as hydropower, transmission lines, road and rail networks, health, education, tourism, irrigation etc in which it can attract Indian investments. India is ready to invest in the projects of Kathmandu-Nijgadh fast track road, second international airport at Nijgadh, Koshi High Dam etc," Jaitley said.

Jaitley, who is presently on a two-day visit to Nepal, held meetings with President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda'.

He also met Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Nepal Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Industry Minister Nabindra Raj Joshi.

In order to address the issue of high trade deficit, Jaitley suggested that Nepal may expand its export basket by attracting more Indian investments in export-oriented industries.

Further, the early completion of power projects like Upper Karnali and Arun-III, Nepal would be able to export electricity to India.

He urged that the issues of forest land and land acquisition, which have delayed projects, should be resolved at the earliest.

The Nepali leaders thanked Jaitley for India's development assistance and highly appreciated the country's assistance for post-earthquake reconstruction of Nepal.

Deputy Prime Minister Mahara in particular thanked the Government of India for facilitating export of nearly 380 MW of electricity throughout this winter which has enabled several regions of Nepal become free of load-shedding.

The two countries now have transmission lines for trade of nearly 500 MW of electricity, which would increase to over 750 MW by mid-2017.

The Finance Minister's visit highlights the importance India attaches to its relations with Nepal. (ANI)