India, Nepal ink eight pacts

India and Nepal set the stage for closer defence and security cooperation with the two countries signing eight agreements, including one for cooperation against drug trafficking and another for post-earthquake reconstruction. On his first visit to India after taking over as PM, Nepal PM Sher Bahadur Deuba assured his counterpart Narendra Modi that his government wasn't going to allow anyone to conduct anti-India activities from Nepalese soil.

An MoU was signed for utilisation of India's housing grant to support reconstruction of 50,000 houses. Both sides insisted that Nepal did not go into the specifics of its own boundary dispute with India at the Nepal-China-India tri-junction in the light of the Sino-Indian Doklam dispute.

According to a joint statement issued after Modi's meeting with Deuba, the two leaders committed to further enhancing close cooperation bet ween the Indian Army and the Nepal army. Deuba thanked India for continued assistance in training and capacity building of the security forces of Nepal.

The two Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the “excellent cooperation on security-related matters'' and expressed commitment to ensure that the open border, a unique feature of India-Nepal bilateral relations that has facilitated unhindered movement of people on both sides of the border, is not misused by unscrupulous elements. “The two sides reiterated their commitment that their territories would not be allowed to be used for any activities inimical to the other,'' said the statement. “Defence ties and assistance in security is an important aspect of our partnership. Our defence interests are also connected to each other,“ Modi said at a joint press briefing. “As you (Modi) mentioned that Nepal has an open border...I would like to assure you that Nepal will never allow any activity against friendly neighbour India and there will be support, help and cooperation from our side,“ Deuba said.

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