Cross Border Pipeline (India-Nepal)

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Context: The Prime Ministers of India and Nepal jointly inaugurated a cross-border petroleum products pipeline via video conference.

Relevance:
Prelims: Current events of national and international importance. 
Mains: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Background:

  • The Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline project was first proposed in 1996.
  • The project was put back on the agenda during Prime Minister’s visit to Kathmandu in 2014.
  • The two governments had signed an agreement to execute the project in August 2015.
  • Construction had begun in April 2018. Construction of the pipeline was undertaken by Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOCL), India’s largest refiner, with an investment of over ₹324 crore, in collaboration with Nepal Oil Corp. Ltd (NOCL).

Motihari-Amlekhgunj oil pipeline: 

  • The 69km pipeline will transport fuel from the Barauni refinery in Bihar to Amlekhgunj in south-east Nepal. 
  • This new pipeline is the first cross-border petroleum products pipeline in South Asia. 

Importance: 

  • The aim is to cement India-Nepal ties in the face of major inroads made by China into the Himalayan nation and seeks to repair the trust deficit between the two countries due to an economic blockade seemingly imposed by India in 2015 to persuade Nepal to change some provisions in its new constitution.
  • The pipeline connects India seamlessly to Nepal underlining the fact that geography favours India-Nepal relations naturally.
  • The development comes against the backdrop of recent plans for a rail link between Nepal and China cutting through the Himalayas. There were also plans to link Nepal and China through an energy pipeline running through the Himalayas.
  • Both were seen as means by Nepal to find an alternative to its dependency on India. 



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