New Delhi: At a time when China is looking to expand its rail network into Nepal, India feels it is the opening of air routes that can help develop people-to-people contact between New Delhi and Kathmandu, and will now explore the possibility of opening at least five such routes.
According to news agency ANI quoting a report published in Kathmandu Post, a technical delegation from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) will visit Nepal next week to hold discussions about the prospect of new air routes between India and the Himalayan country. It is learnt that Nepal is interested in connecting Janakpur, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar to the air route network with India. This would enable operations of international flights from airports in Bhairahawa, Pokhara and Nijgadh.
While there has been a delay of several years in taking up the proposal, both sides are now reportedly eager to put the matter on the fast-track. This is especially after PM Modi visited Nepal last month and urged for even closer ties.
If the discussions next week - June 14 - are conducive, it is possible that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed shortly after. Safety assessments would then follow - apart from a number of procedural formalities - before making the air routes active.