EAM Sushma Swaraj holds talks with Nepal President Bhandari

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EAM Sushma Swaraj holds talks with Nepal President Bhandari

This was the first meeting between the two leaders since Deuba took over from Maoist leader Prachanda as Nepal's prime minister in June in a power-sharing deal.

The RJPN leaders had made a decision to press for early voting on the amendment after they held a meeting with Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj yesterday. The BIMSTEC is our natural partner for regional cooperation, represents common space for peace and development.

The bloc brings together 1.5 billion people or 21 per cent of the world's population.

The meeting, which was inaugurated by Deuba on Thursday, will deliberate on 14 different themes like trade, investment, transport and communication, energy, tourism, agriculture, counter-terrorism, poverty alleviation, public health, environment and natural disasters and climate change.

This is Sushma Swaraj's sixth visit to Nepal and the first high level visit since the new government under Deuba assumed office in Nepal in June 2017, said an Indian Embassy statement.

"We note with satisfaction that the Secretariat has organized two Bimstec Foundation Lectures and 10 Round-Table Meetings to promote the people-to-people contact among the member states", it added.

"Promotion of intra-Bimstec tourist circuits, joint marketing strategies, and Bimstec specific tourism products, notably the Buddhist circuit, would allow tourists to experience our rich and shared civilizational heritage", she outlined. "Our slogan of "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas" is for entire region", said Sushma.

The Diplomatic sources specified regarding this visit that the JCC meeting would review the implementation and progress of decisions taken during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to India in April this year. Participating ministers will also jointly call on Nepalese Prime Minister.

Pointing out that Bimstec has a combined GDP of over $2.85 trillion, Sushma Swaraj said: "There remains however an vast unfulfilled potential for deeper economic integration".

The members also recognised paramount importance of early conclusion of BIMSTEC Free Trade Area.

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