Nepal’s government and political parties have pinned their hopes on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here on Sunday and Monday for a new beginning in ties between the two South Asian neighbours.
The leaders, however, cautioned against any major breakthrough during the visit, though some specifics of security, economy and trade could be touched. Speaking to The Hindu, leaders across the spectrum said Mr. Modi’s visit should be used as an opportunity to promote political-level engagement between the two countries.
“We expect the visit to build on the trust and confidence between the two countries,” Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said. “We need to promote the goodwill that exists between Nepal and India.”
Mr. Modi is arriving here on Sunday at the invitation of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. This is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Nepal in 17 years. Mr Modi is scheduled to hold talks with Mr. Koirala and address Nepal’s Parliament. The address to Parliament will be in Hindi. On Monday, he will call on President Ram Baran Yadav after offering puja at the Pashupatinath Temple and later meet political leaders and members of the business community.
“Besides helping improve political-level understanding between the two countries, the visit would be an opportunity to discuss openly those issues which have been pending for years,” said Bhim Rawal of the CPN-UML.
Narayan Kaji Shrestha of the UCPN (Maoist) agreed that Mr. Modi’s visit sent a positive message, and suggested that he would accomplish a great deal by assuring Nepal that “irritations in the development framework” would be removed. “We have seen how Indian bureaucracy and intelligence was involved in Nepal’s affairs; now hopefully this would stop and we can have a new beginning,” he said.