India and Nepal have formalized a significant agreement for the export of 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal to India over the next decade. The announcement, initially made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s visit to India in June, has now materialized with the official signing of the long-term power trade agreement. The agreement, a central component of five pacts signed between the two nations, was signed during India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to the Nepali capital.
- Export Agreement Details: The agreement entails the export of 10,000 megawatts of electricity from Nepal to India over the next ten years. The signing ceremony also marked the inauguration of three cross-border power transmission lines.
- Signing Ceremony Attendees: The formal signing of the agreement was conducted in the presence of both countries’ foreign ministers, and the actual signing was carried out by Gopal Sigdel, Nepal’s secretary at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, and Pankaj Agarwal, India’s power secretary.
- Controversial Aspects: The move has faced criticism from some Nepali civil society activists, including former bureaucrats, who raised concerns about the decision to allocate such a substantial portion of Nepal’s hydroelectricity to the Indian market. They argued that decisions impacting Nepal’s water resources and flexibility should undergo broad national discussion and parliamentary oversight.
- National Discussion Demands: Critics emphasize the need for inclusive national discussions and parliamentary oversight on matters that have significant implications for Nepal’s natural resources and strategic decisions. The controversy highlights the importance of transparent decision-making processes in the realm of cross-border power agreements.
While the official signing of the power trade agreement between India and Nepal marks a significant milestone in regional energy cooperation, it is not without controversy. The concerns raised by Nepali civil society activists underscore the need for transparent decision-making processes and inclusive discussions on matters impacting the nation’s vital resources and strategic commitments. The successful implementation of the agreement will likely depend on addressing these concerns and ensuring a balanced approach to the cross-border electricity trade.