Nepal and India will sign several agreements during the four-day visit of Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ that began on Wednesday.
Speaking at a public reception organised by the Embassy of Nepal, the visiting leader highlighted business ties between the two sides. He said he would engage the leading Indian business houses and hold an official meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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“Nepal had suffered economically during the global epidemic like many other countries. But, there has been gradual improvement in the economic condition in Nepal since my government has taken charge. Our foreign currency reserve has increased and foreign remittances from Nepalese citizens living abroad has also increased. Our exchanges with India in the fields of employment and investment will be my focus during the visit,” said Mr. Prachanda during the speech.
Mr. Prachanda came to power for the third time in December 26, 2022 and ever since has survived several politically turbulent episodes. His bid for power was supported by former PM K.P. Sharma Oli’s party CPN-UML but in February, the alliance broke over differences regarding the presidential election and he received support from the Nepali Congress. A former Maoist guerrilla leader, Mr. Prachanda had been projecting a pro-business image since the beginning of his government.
Mr. Prachanda was received at the Indira Gandhi International Airport by Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi. The Nepalese leader is accompanied by a large delegation that includes Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Foreign Minister Narayan Prasad Saud. His daughter Ganga Dahal accompanied him in all the official meetings on Wednesday. Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval called on Mr. Prachanda before the public reception.
Addressing the meeting, Mr. Prachanda announced that “several agreements will be signed during the visit”. Nepalese commentators accompanying Mr. Prachanda in the visit told The Hindu that the guest would use the visit as an opportunity to highlight Nepal’s developmental requirements.
Pointing at this angle, Mr. Saud said there were possibilities that the two sides would take up electricity and water projects during the official-level discussion with Indian Prime Minister Modi on Thursday.
It is understood that several private energy producers in India had taken a keen interest in developing hydropower projects in Nepal. India served as the “country partner” in the April Power Summit held in Nepal which saw strong participation from Indian companies. India has been active in pushing several large projects like the Arun III hydropower project and the Gorakhpur-Butwal 400 kV cross-border line. The bilateral official discussion during the four-day visit may also take up cultural ties between the two sides.