Nepal Once Again Fails to get India’s Approval for New Air Entry Routes

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Nepal Once Again Fails to get India’s Approval for New Air Entry Routes

May 28: Nepal has repeatedly discussed with India the issue of Bhairahawa and Mahendranagar air entry routes, but has not been able to get permission.

A Nepali delegation, which reached India ahead of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s official state visit to India on May 31, returned empty handed after failure to agree on technical aspects of these two air entry routes.

The Nepali delegation which included Budhisagar Lamichhane, joint secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation and Pradeep Adhikari, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), returned back to Nepal on Friday without any breakthrough on this long-standing issue.

Officials of the ministry said that although they were hopeful of striking a deal on the matter of cross-border flights and Bhairahawa and Mahendranagar entry points at the technical level, the two sides only discussed the matter.

Spokesperson for the ministry, Rajendra Kumar KC, said that the two countries only discussed the issue this time without taking any concrete decision.

"I think the matter will be decided during the prime minister's upcoming visit," he said. According to him, the air entry points will be one of the prime agendas of Nepal during the PM’s India visit.

The Indian side did not give a 'green signal' for the entry points this time either. Nepal has been raising the issue of cross-boarder flights since 2016.

Gautam Buddha International Airport of Nepal has been operational for more than one year while the Pokhara Regional International Airport came into operation five months ago.

However, international flights from these airports have not been possible due to the delay in India’s approval for allowing aircraft to use the air entry routes of Bhairahawa and Mahendranagar.

At present, India has allowed Nepal-bound aircraft to use only the air entry route from Simra to enter Nepal. With the inauguration of two new international airports, Nepal has been taking initiatives to acquire permits for air entry routes from Bhairahawa and Mahendranagar. India has not been cooperating with Nepal since a long time.



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