India and Nepal on Tuesday jointly inaugurated South Asia’s first cross-border oil pipeline, allowing the landlocked Himalayan nation of Nepal to receive an uninterrupted supply.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Nepalese counterpart Khadga Prasad Oli pressed the buttons simultaneously from their offices in New Delhi and Kathmandu respectively, to open the 78-kilometer (48-mile) pipeline.
“I’m delighted to have inaugurated the Indo-Nepal petroleum pipeline with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I would like to thank my friend Modi and India for completing the project ahead of the deadline,” said an elated Nepalese prime minister.
"It will not only save time, reduce cost, lessen road traffic and reduce air pollution in transporting petroleum products from India to Nepal, but will also open avenues in Nepal for expanding similar pipelines across the country," Oli said.
Indian premier, for his part, said with the new cross-border pipeline, 2 million tons of clean petroleum products will be available to the people of Nepal at very affordable rates.
"This is the first cross border petroleum pipeline in South Asia, which has also been completed in a record time," Modi said.
The pipeline was first proposed in 1996, but the work began after Modi visited Nepal in 2014, soon after assuming office.
A $48 million project, the pipeline starts from Motihari, headquarters of East Champaran district in the Indian province of Bihar. The pipeline which travels 36 kilometers (22 miles) in India and the remaining 42 kilometers (26 miles) in Nepal, will supply oil to a reservoir set up at Amlekhganj town in Bara District in south-eastern Nepal.
Significantly, the inauguration coincided with the wrapping up of the three-day visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Nepal.
The pipeline is believed to help tackle the oil storage problem in Nepal and doing away with transportation of petroleum products through tankers.
In 2015, Nepal faced acute oil shortage, when oil trucks were prevented to move to Kathmandu.
Miffed at ignoring its concerns, India had unofficially imposed economic embargo, following promulgation of new constitution in Nepal.
The blockade motivated Kathmandu to seek greater connectivity with its northern neighbor China. Officially, India has denied that it had ever imposed any embargo, saying the ethnic protests in southern Nepal against the country's new constitution had led to the closure of the border for months.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.