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Federation of Indian Industry Felicitated Ambassador of Nepal to India Over a Business & Friendly Meet-up in Gurugram


Federation of Indian Industry (FII) on August 22, warmly felicitated His excellency Dr Shankar Prasad Sharma, ambassador of Nepal to India, in a packed house of MSEs industry owners, professionals and entrepreneurs. The Micro & Small Enterprises (MSEs) sector continues to be a vibrant sector of the Indian economy.  The presence of its representatives from MSEs & MSMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises) in India at the gathering was significant, showing their interest in exploring business avenues in Nepal. The ambassador was accompanied by Minister of Economic, Nepal Nita Pokhrel Aryal, who stands committed to working toward easing the trade of Nepali products in India during her tenure.

 After the formal welcome note, Deepak Jain, Managing Director FII, referred to the historic friendly ted between Nepal & India, calling it a Roti –Beti Ka Rishta (the term is often used to describe a close bond between the two countries). Dr Shankar Prasad Sharma, the envoy of Nepal to India, is a renowned economist and has served as the chief advisor at the Ministry of Finance. Soft-spoken, well-articulated Dr Sharma emphasized calling Indian industry owners to set up their businesses in Nepal. “Invest in Nepal, invest in future. Nepal’s 2/3 of trade is with India, and we greatly value our relations with India,” he said. Referring to the recently signed MOU with NHPC for the hydropower project, he said, “Nepal has opened its rivers, which it sees as having a combined potential to generate more than 42,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power, to foreign players to develop its economy and export electricity to narrow the trade deficit of more than $13bn. Due to low transportation costs, Dabur and Unilever companies have manufacturing units in Nepal.  The presence of SBI and PNB banks in Nepal makes it easier for Indians to do business in Nepal. An Indian would need 400 crores to establish a bank in India.”

Travel & Tourism

On a lighter note, the ambassador spoke about the ease of access between the two countries, making it easier for travel & tourism to prosper. “About 1.5 million people go to Nepal by car in India, making Nepal an easy choice for the middle-class aspiring Indian to visit a foreign country. When there are traffic jams on Simla Dehradun highways, people from India steer to Nepal for a peaceful, scenic, culturally motivating and affordable vacation.”

Dr Sharma has eight books to his credit on the economy, energy and the environment of the Asia-Pacific region, including Nepal. He also worked as a consultant expert in several national and international agencies, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and UNDP.

Talking on a lighter note, since he has served as a US Envoy and spent some years in Singapore, India seems more comfortable to adjust. “There are many cultural similarities, and my family also finds living in India more comforting for apparent reasons.

Offline Vs Online

Dr Sharma gently smiles and says he is a people person and likes to meet them in person. “ Offline meetings are very tight in time and space with no room for flexibility. When Mr Modi visited Nepal, he signed six MOUs. India and Nepal agreed to establish sister city relations between Lumbini and Kushinagar, which are among the holiest sites of Buddhism and reflect the shared Buddhist heritage between the two countries further to bring the people of the two countries closer. This could happen because of his visit. Meeting people in person, there is an exchange of warmth which leads to better people to connect.”

Health & Spirituality

Dr Sharma smiles and says, “coming from the land of the Buddhist faith, meditation was a part of my daily ritual, but now I am not that regular in my practice. I believe spiritualism is a way of life to create a balance. Work & life balance is important, and it may be difficult without grounding by daily spiritual practice. I remember a long time back; I enjoyed playing tennis. Now, with work commitments, it’s taken a back seat though I begin my day with a 50-minute walk, and I like to read almost every day.”

Food & Bollywood

There is a similarity in food also between the two counties. “I enjoy eating Chatpata Indian food. Living in current times, we have access to global food menus, and that’s getting people closer. Food can become a comforting factor in joining hearts. So can Bollywood, and Salman Khan and Shahrukh Khan remain his favourites in B-town.

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