India and China promised to help Nepal with nearly $1.5 billion for reconstruction and rebuilding efforts, two months after the Himalayan region was hit by massive earthquakes.
India, which pledged $1 billion, will provide a quarter of the amount in the form of grant over the next five years, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj reportedly said on Thursday at the inaugural session of the International Conference on Nepal's Reconstruction (ICNR) in Kathmandu. This amount will be over and above India’s existing aid pledges of $1 billion announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Nepal visit last year.
"This takes our total assistance to Nepal over the next five years to $2 billion U.S. dollars," Swaraj said, according to Reuters. "The relationship between India and Nepal is as old as history itself. We share ties of culture, religion, tradition, language, literature and mythology."
Swaraj hailed Nepal’s efforts in rebuilding the nation and also praised its residents for their perseverance in the face of a massive tragedy.
"I am glad to see that in spite of the tragedy, the people of Nepal have displayed a steely determination to rebuild their country. India will continue to stand together with the people and Government of Nepal in the quickest recovery and reconstruction," Swaraj reportedly said at the conference, which was attended by more than 280 representatives from 60 countries and international agencies.
China also pledged $483 million to help Nepal rebuild, following the deadly earthquakes that reportedly destroyed over 500,000 homes.
"China will help Nepal in every way it can ... to promote its socio-economic development," China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, according to Reuters.
Both India and China had sent rescue teams and relief to Nepal soon after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the region on April 25, devastating the country’s infrastructure and killing over 8,600 people. The quake was the worst to hit Nepal in over 80 years. It was followed by another 7.3-magnitude earthquake and several aftershocks on May 12 that claimed hundreds of lives.
"To overcome the huge challenges of rehabilitation and reconstruction, we need a robust global partnership for doing what we must with clear goals and plans of action,” Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala reportedly said.