Bangladesh and Nepal will likely hold the fourth meeting of the joint working group and joint steering committee in late August where the two sides plan to hold discussions on bilateral power trade and Bangladeshi investment in Nepal's hydropower sector.
The meeting of the joint working group is led by joint secretaries of the two countries while the joint steering committee meeting is led by secretaries on behalf of their respective governments, reports The Kathmandu Post.
"We have received a request for holding these meetings in late August," said Madhu Bhetuwal, spokesperson for Nepal's Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation.
"The proposed date in August sounds good. But no definitive decision has been taken yet", he said.
He also informed that the meetings would include discussions on how to trade power between the two countries and attract Bangladeshi investment in the hydropower sector.
The meetings are set to take place at a time when India has become more flexible about sub-regional cooperation under a framework involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, known as the BBIN.
As India lies between Nepal and Bangladesh, electricity trade between Nepal and Bangladesh cannot happen without Indian support.
During the third bilateral meeting of the joint working group and joint steering committee held in September last year, the two countries had agreed to develop a dedicated transmission line by taking India on board.
There, however, have not been any trilateral meetings regarding the issue, according to Bhetuwal.
"There is a realisation that a trilateral meeting should be held between Nepal, India and Bangladesh," he said. "But no side has proposed such a meeting so far."
But it is not only the Joint Vision Statement that talks about cooperation among BBIN countries, the southern neighbour has already expressed its support for the idea of transmission interconnectivity among BIMSTEC member countries.
BIMSTEC stands for the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
During the third BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Meeting held in Kathmandu in April, member countries approved the establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection Coordination Committee to implement the provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding for the establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection and its terms of reference.
Bangladesh has already agreed to buy 500MW from the planned 900MW Upper Karnali Hydropower Project. GMR, an Indian firm, has received the construction licence to develop the project.
Besides power trade, the two countries will also discuss developing two storage type hydropower projects—683MW Sunkoshi-3 Hydropower Project and [over 1100 MW] Khimti Shivalaya Hydropower Project—with Bangladeshi investment, according to Bhetuwal.
When the two sides held a virtual meeting in September last year, they had agreed to work together to explore the possibility of developing the Sunkoshi-3 Hydropower Project with Bangladeshi investment.
As per the Nepalese ministry's press statement last year, the Bangladeshi side was supposed to send a team to conduct field visits at the proposed site of the Sunkoshi-3 Hydropower Project by December last year. But the visit could not take place due to the Covid pandemic, according to Bhetuwal.
About two weeks ago, a joint team of Nepali officials and Bangladeshi representatives, including Bangladesh's ambassador to Nepal, visited the site of the Sunkoshi-3 Hydropower Project, which straddles Ramechhap and Kavrepalanchok districts.
Suwas Thapaliya, an engineer at the Department of Electricity Development, said Bangladeshi representatives were informed about the latest development regarding the project and that they also interacted with the local people.