As close neighbors, Nepal and India have many commonalities as well as differences. This is natural for two close neighbors to have such kinds of relations. Nepal’s relations with India are always important. This is the reason the prime minister is making all his efforts to ensure the success of the visit. As prime minister, he is also consulting with different political parties in Nepal about his present visit, seeking national consensus on all major issues. There are many unsettled political and other problems with India. However, the prime minister will not raise these kinds of issues, which will create irritants in our relationships. Whenever Nepal’s prime ministers visit India, there is always a kind of suspicion in Nepal. Prime minister Dr. Bhattarai will not sign any controversial agreement with long term implications in his visit.
Since this is a friendly visit, prime minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai wants to make it more like that: a friendly visit. Although there are many issues, the prime minister will focus this visit to woo Indian investment in Nepal. During his four-day visit, the prime minister will attend a dozen of meetings in New Delhi with politicians as well as business leaders. He will also meet with his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh and other senior leaders of various political parties. Prime minister Dr. Bhattarai has been repeatedly saying that his vision is to eradicate poverty in Nepal. Thus, he seeks support from India for his endeavour. As a former student, the prime minister will also attend a program in Jawaharlal Nehru University. Given the fluid political transition in Nepal, his thrust of the visit will be to get support from India to conclude the peace process.
The visit has many significant aspects for UCPN-Maoist also. It will help our party to establish the political level relations with India. The prime minister will also meet various political leaders and try to establish party to party relations with various political parties in India. As a capable leader of the party, prime minister Bhattarai will be able to do so. India is our friendly neighbor and Indian people and government always support Nepal’s process of democratization. In this context, the prime minister will focus to get the support and cooperation from India in constitution writing process and conclusion of peace process.
The prime minister has already made it clear that there is no plan to sign any agreement with long term implications. As India is a key stakeholder of the present peace process, we cannot settle the current political impasse without the support and cooperation from India. In this context, the prime minister will seek a formal Indian role in concluding the peace process and constitution writing. It is a well known fact that Nepal’s present process cannot move without support and cooperation from Indian leadership. The PM will ask the Indian leadership to play some role to conclude the peace process.
Since India is Nepal’s a largest trade partner and the trade deficit with India is growing faster, the prime minister will also discuss with Indian leadership to bridge this gap and he will seek Indian assistance in addressing the issue. Nepal has immense possibilities for foreign investment and there are so many areas where Indian investors can benefit, particularly in the water resources sector. The prime minister will request Indian investors to come to invest in Nepal in various sectors. Being a close neighbor of India, Nepal is yet to tap its economic growth. One of the main agenda of prime minister will be to lure Indian investment in Nepal. The objective is also to strengthen existing cordial bilateral ties. Another important issue that will surface is also to transform Nepal into a bridge between India and China.
Nepal has been facing a huge energy shortfall living up to 16 hours of load shedding. As there is no possibility to meet this shortfall immediately, Nepal needs Indian support to avoid power crisis. On the issue of energy shortfall in Nepal, the prime minister will seek to import electricity from India. He will also take this matter with Indian leadership. India has been supporting Nepal in education sector for a long time. At a time when the country does not have an institution for technology, the PM could also request Indian help in setting up a world class institute, like the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), in Nepal.
The prime minister will try to assure safety of Indian investment in Nepal. Though there are certain uncertainties and unrest in industrial sector, the investment climate in Nepal is still conducive. The prime minister will convey this message to all the levels in India.
I can say that prime minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s India visit will be historic in the sense that he will project Nepal’s interests and Nepal’s needs for development. As a person having friendly relationship with a large number of academicians in India, prime minister Dr. Bhattarai will project Nepal’s case and Nepal’s interest broadly. At the same time, the prime minister will also work to strengthen Maoist party’s relations with India. Prime minister Dr. Bhattarai’s visit will increase trust between Nepal and India in all sectors. ( Based on his interaction with journalists)