Nepal is a priority partner of India under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy
With an aim to further accelerate bilateral relations, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is set to embark on a two-day visit to Kathmandu, Nepal, on January 4-5, 2024. 
During the visit, which comes at the invitation of Nepal's Foreign Minister NP Saud, EAM Jaishankar will co-chair the 7th meeting of the India-Nepal Joint Commission, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday (January 3, 2023).

He will also call on the leadership of Nepal and meet prominent political figures. "Nepal is a priority partner of India under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy. The visit is in keeping with the tradition of high-level exchanges between two close and friendly neighbours," the MEA noted.
MEA described the India-Nepal Joint Commission, which was established in 1987, as a pivotal platform for reviewing and enhancing the multifaceted partnership between the two neighbouring countries. 

Focus on India-Nepal cooperation in power sector
An anticipated emphasis on energy cooperation between India and Nepal during EAM Jaishankar's visit is a strategic component of broader bilateral relations. This focus is anchored in the long-term power trade agreement previously signed by the two countries in 2023.
Under this landmark agreement, India has set a target of importing 10,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Nepal, implicating upcoming economic collaborations between the two nations.

Through this agreement, Nepal receives a substantial opportunity to capitalize on its vast hydropower potential. Nepal's rich hydro resources, estimated to be around 42,000 MW in theoretical capacity, remain largely untapped. The engagement seeks to enable Nepal’s energy exports to India and reduce its dependency on the prevalent energy imports.

For India, importing electricity from Nepal aligns with its broader energy security and diversification strategies. With this new collaboration, India aims to further its commitment to sustainable development by depending further on incorporating more renewable sources to address its growing energy needs. Ultimately, these deliberations are expected to solidify the roadmap for achieving the ambitious target of 10,000 MW, setting a precedent for regional energy cooperation.

The proposed construction of a new pipeline from Siliguri in India to Jhapa in Eastern Nepal is another crucial aspect of the upcoming bilateral discussions. India and Nepal aim to enhance their collaborative energy infrastructure and diversify their energy supply routes with this novel agreement. Given the logistical challenges prevalent in India's northeastern region, there is a significant need for a targeted approach to energy security in this area. 
EAM Jaishankar’s discussions in Nepal are likely to focus on further developing regional energy integration, continuing the progress of previous meetings, while also looking at enhancing the trade efficiency between India and Nepal. The pipeline is envisaged to enhance the energy infrastructure in the region, aiming to holistically create a more integrated South Asian power market.