Photograph: Screenshot

Leaders from India and Nepal held talks on Saturday to repair strained ties following a border blockade, as the neighbours signed nine pacts on issues such as trade and transport.

India had closed its border due to security concerns, after the ethnic Madheshi group in Nepal's southern Terai region held protests over the country's controversial new constitution.

Border trade resumed on February 12, after the Madheshis called off their blockade, but the halt on imports hit Nepal hard as it depends heavily on India for its supply of fuel and essential commodities.

Visiting Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi discussed bilateral ties and the political situation in Nepal at talks in New Delhi.

"The main mission of my visit is to clear the misunderstanding that surfaced in the last few months and to take back our relations to the same level of enthusiasm we saw when Mr Modi visited Nepal in 2014," Oli told reporters while standing alongside Modi.

Indian Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said Oli's was not a "recriminatory visit" and indicated Delhi was confident that he would keep up his assurances to look into Madheshi demands.

The ethnic group reacted angrily to the constitution's redrawing of federal state boundaries, claiming that the reforms posed a threat to their autonomy.

Relations between the neighbours had soured in wake of the agitation of the Madheshis, who share family and cultural ties with India. More than 50 people died in the protests.

Nine pacts - including an agreement to utilize 250 million dollars of a 1-billion-dollar package pledged by India last year for Nepal's post-earthquake reconstruction - were signed after the talks.

The pacts also included agreements on trade channels, with landlocked Nepal now permitted secure transit routes to Bangladesh by road and rail, as well as use of India's Vishakapatnam port to boost trade with third countries.

Oli and Modi agreed to strengthen road infrastructure in the Terai area, while the leaders also inaugurated a transmission line for the supply of Indian electricity to Nepal.

Oli, who is on a six-day visit to India, is set to visit the financial hub of Mumbai, as well as the western Bhuj region to study reconstruction after an earthquake, which struck that region in 2001.

Related stories

Latest news

Alphabet's self-driving car company sues Uber over alleged theft

Alphabet's self-driving car company Waymo said Thursday it was suing Uber and its subsidiary Otto for allegedly stealing its technology and infringing its patents.

US, Mexico take "important steps" even as Trump voices indifference

Top US and Mexican diplomatic and security officials met on Thursday in Mexico City, as President Donald Trump in Washington expressed ambivalence about relations with the United States' southern neighbour.

US Supreme Court's Ginsberg emphasizes value of free press

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg expressed optimism about the political future of the United States despite the polarized and combative political atmosphere that has marked the fledgling presidency of Donald Trump.

Top Trump aide Bannon points to promises kept, media fight

Top White House strategist Steve Bannon said Thursday US President Donald Trump is keeping the promises he made during his campaign on issues from immigration to job creation.

Le Pen promises independent foreign policy, autonomous defence

Marine Le Pen promised Thursday that if elected president of France she would ensure it had a truly independent foreign policy as well as an autonomous capacity for self-defence.

Slovenia for ending lawsuits against Ljubljanska Banka

Croatia is infringing the memorandum of understanding signed with Slovenia in 2013 which they interpret differently, the Slovenian Embassy said on Thursday after a hearing at a Zagreb court in a suit which Croatia's PBZ bank filed against Slovenia's Ljubljanska Banka (LB) and Nova Ljubljanska Bank (NLB) over transferred foreign currency savings.

Marin Pucar appointed as new CEO in Podravka food concern

Marin Pucar is the new Management Board chairman of the Podravka food concern and will take the helm of the company after Zvonimir Mrsic's term expires at midnight on Thursday.

Croatian MEP says Moscow wants to influence in western Balkans

Croatian MEP Ivan Jakovcic said in an interview with the Montenegrin Pobjeda daily on Thursday that Moscow is trying to exploit the political forces in Montenegro and that Russia's meddling in Montenegro's internal affairs was "unacceptable behaviour."

New York Times launches brand campaign for 'The Truth' with Oscars ad

The New York Times is using Sunday's Academy Awards show to launch an advertising drive with an ad spot that capitalizes on President Donald Trump's confrontational relationship with the paper and other mainstream media.

Gambia charges former spy chief with murder of opposition leader

The former head of the Gambian national intelligence agency has been charged with the murder of an opposition youth leader who died in detention last year.

Dutch populist Wilders won't publicly campaign after security fiasco

The Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV) won't make public appearances in support of its election campaign after a security official assigned to protect party founder Geert Wilders was detained by police.

Peace Implementation Council Steering Board calls for defusing tensions in Bosnia

The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) met on Thursday, expressing the international community's concern about the situation in the country and calling on local politicians to act rationally to prevent an escalation of the crisis after a motion was submitted to review an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling in BiH's case against Serbia for genocide.