Friday, 22 June, 2018

PM Modi's visit seeks to bridge trust deficit between India and Nepal

PM Modi's visit seeks to bridge trust deficit between India and Nepal Bus to Ayodhya from Janakpur will be PM Narendra Modi's gift for Nepal
Faye Gross | 11 May, 2018, 00:47

Indian Premier Narendra Modi is due in Nepal on Friday for a two-day visit created to mend fences with its smaller neighbor, but anger is still simmering in the landlocked country over a crippling blockade some two years ago.

This will be the third visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal and the first high-level visit from India since the formation of the new Government in Nepal.

After visiting the Janakpur temple on Friday morning, Modi will attend a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Janakpur at the Barabigha ground. Modi and his Nepalese counterpart K P Sharma Oli will jointly lay the foundation stone for the 900-MW Arun 111 hydro power project, being constructed with Indian assistance of an estimated ₹6,000 crore in Eastern Nepal. Prime Minister will call on Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun and President Bidya Devi Bhandari in KAthmandu.

Prime Minister Modi will also visit Muktinath temple in Mustang District and will depart for India on Saturday evening. Although the Oli-led CPN-UML had raised the issue of the blockade during the election campaign and nationalist slogans, after winning the election the Leftist party toned down its voice and adopted a positive attitude towards India, Mahat said.

According to local media, Modi will first visit Janakpur, a historic town in southern Nepal bordering the Indian state of Bihar.

He will be arriving in the country's historical and ancient city of Janakpur on May 11.

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Modi will be given a ceremonial reception at Kathmandu that afternoon and hold discussions with Oli.

"As Nepal enters a new era of consolidating gains of democracy and achieving rapid economic growth and development, India will continue to remain a steadfast partner of government of Nepal to implement its vision of "samriddha Nepal, sukhi Nepali" (prosperous Nepal, happy Nepal)", read the statement.

Gautam says: "Modi's visit is less about resetting diplomatic ties with Nepal and more about his own domestic electorate politics, and geopolitics". "This visit signifies that India accords top priority to her relations with Nepal, and our government should pay attention for getting maximum benefit from the visit", pointed out former foreign minister and Nepali Congress leader Prakash Sharan Mahat.

The aim will also be to bring "substance" and "seriousness" in ties, a source said, while expressing the hope that "it will further build trust between the two neighbours".

A lot will be at stake for India and Modi as he undertakes his third visit to Nepal-it's a bilateral one like the one in 2014-and seeks to fix frayed ties.

Oli's visit was seen as an attempt to fix Nepal's ties with New Delhi.

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