South Asia

Modi concludes historic visit to Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifts sandalwood after offering prayers at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifts sandalwood after offering prayers at the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu on Monday.  

On the second day of his Nepal visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met a string of Opposition members, from Maoists leaders to royalists.

After receiving a rousing applause for his “hit” speech in the Nepal Parliament and bilateral talks with the government, Mr. Modi spent Monday closeted with Opposition leaders, including Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Prachanda and pro-monarchy Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (Nepal) leader Kamal Thapa. Mr. Prachanda praised Mr. Modi’s speech.

“The leader of the Opposition told Mr. Modi that he had won the hearts and minds of Nepalis with his words,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, but added that the leaders spoke of grievances and “misgivings” about Indian project delays in the past.

One of the big disappointments during Mr. Modi’s visit has been the failure to sign the Power Trade Agreement and the Project Development Agreement, both of which were to serve as a template for expediting development and energy cooperation between India and Nepal.

However, during the Prime Minister’s meeting with his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala, both sides agreed to sign those agreements within 45 days, along with other time-bound commitments.

Speaking to The Hindu, former PM, and leader of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Baburam Bhattarai said Mr. Modi’s visit will usher in a new era in relations between India and Nepal. “We also reminded Mr. Modi that often India makes commitments, that get delayed.” Mr. Modi is learnt to have replied that just as his speech in parliament had taken many by surprise, Nepal’s leadership should trust that unlike in the past, the commitments made by him would be kept.

Earlier in the day Mr. Modi conducted a special puja at the Pashupatinath temple, donating 2,500 kg of sandalwood, and promising Rs. 25 crore for the renovation and restoration of the 17 th century heritage structure.

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 7:27:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/south-asia/modi-concludes-historic-visit-to-nepal/article6280753.ece

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