partnership reinforced by open borders and national treatment accorded to each other’s citizens.
      As a part of intensive bilateral engagements, President of Nepal paid a state visit to India in April
      2017. Prime Minister of Nepal paid a state visit to India in August 2017. EAM attended the 15th
      BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting in Kathmandu in August 2017. In keeping with the tradition of
      regular high-level exchanges, EAM paid another visit to Nepal in February 2017.
            The high-level visits and regular meetings of bilateral mechanisms provided an opportunity
      to review bilateral partnership and to discuss new initiatives for mutual benefit. India and Nepal
      have comprehensive economic and developmental cooperation. Community driven small
      development projects like schools, roads, bridges, irrigation facilities, are benefiting people in
      different districts of Nepal. Under the four Lines of Credit of over US$ 1.65 billion extended by
      Government of India, a number of infrastructure projects, including post-earthquake
      reconstruction projects are being implemented there. India offers around 3,000 scholarships to
      Nepalese students every year, providing opportunities to study in Nepal and in India. More than
      250 scholarships are offered annually for government and non-government employees of Nepal
      for training in technical institutes in India under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation
      (ITEC) programme.
            Pakistan: During the period under review, the frequency and intensity of bilateral
      exchanges between India and Pakistan remained limited. Our efforts to normalise relations with
      Pakistan continued to be thwarted by Pakistan’s support for cross-border infiltration and
      ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and International Boundary. The government
      continued its efforts to secure the release of Kulbhushan Jadhav through both diplomatic and
      legal mechanisms. Repatriation of Uzma and Bijoyeta Bannerjee, Indian women in distress in
      Pakistan, was facilitated through legal and diplomatic means.
            Seychelles: India-Seychelles relationship has embarked on new avenues of cooperation
      in recent months with robust development partnership, capacity building programmes, maritime
      security cooperation and cultural exchanges. Blue economy, climate change, renewable energy,
      tourism and health are the emerging areas of focus and added further substance to the bilateral
      engagement during the period.
            In recognition of the strategic convergence of the two countries in the Indian Ocean region,
      a bilateral agreement on the development, management, operation and maintenance of facilities
      on Assumption Island in Seychelles was signed in 2018 in Victoria, Mahe. The agreement is an
      important step forward in further deepening bilateral defence and security cooperation.
            Sri Lanka: India-Sri Lanka relations continued on the high growth trajectory, both in
      terms of high-level political engagements and economic and people-to-people exchanges during
      the period. The hallmark of this active phase in the relationship was a more proactive and
      pragmatic approach to cooperation in the spheres of economic and development partnership,
      with a strong emphasis on timelines for implementation with regard to bilateral projects.
            The landmark visit of Prime Minister to Sri Lanka in May 2017 marked a qualitative
      transformation in the bilateral engagement. Closer cooperation in bilateral economic projects
      received a further boost during Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s visit in April 2017 with the signing
      of a MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects. India-Sri Lanka development partnership
      further intensified and broadened in scope during this period. India remained as the first
      responder in Sri Lanka’s hour of need on account of natural calamities in 2017 with relief and