New Delhi (Sputnik): On Tuesday India and Nepal operationalised a cross-border oil pipeline that will transport fuel to the landlocked country, also known as the Himalayan nation.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that India and Nepal had completed the first cross-border petroleum pipeline corridor in South Asia in record time.
“This India-Nepal energy cooperation project, the Motihari-Amlekhganj pipeline, is a symbol of our close bilateral relations. It will help to enhance the energy security of the region and substantially cut down on transit costs,” Modi said while inaugurating the project along with his Nepalese counterpart K.P. Sharma Oli via video conferencing.
India constructed the 69-km long pipeline in just 15 months.
The oil pipeline will now be used to supply diesel from the Barauni refinery in India to Amalekhgunj town in southeastern Nepal. The two countries have made necessary arrangements to provide security for the pipeline.
The project is expected to limit unnecessary burdens on the treasury by reducing the leakage of petroleum products during transportation. Nepal is seeking to extend the pipeline up to Chitwan District in southwestern Nepal.
The two countries have also agreed to explore the possibility of laying pipelines for LPG and LNG to fuel fertiliser plants and industries in Nepal.
The development holds importance as China has been making inroads into the Himalayan state, which was once entirely dependent on India for the supply of energy and essential products.
Bilateral relations between India and Nepal nosedived in 2015 when the latter blamed New Delhi for imposing an economic blockade on the country for months. China immediately extended its support and opened six new routes to boost trade.
On Monday, Nepal and China signed three crucial infrastructure projects, while nine mega projects under the Belt & Road Initiatives are expected to be agreed next month, during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal.