Just a week after a visit of the high level Chinese delegation, India is set to host Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba later this month as part of efforts to step up engagement with the Himalayan nation at a time when China is seeking to increase its influence in the region including Bhutan.
According to Indian media, Deuba is expected to begin his five-day visit to India on August 23, his first foreign trip after being elected the prime minister for the fourth time two months ago, according to people aware of the matter.
Dueba chose India as a destination for his maiden trip abroad reflects close nature of Indo-Nepal ties, they said, amid China’s relentless efforts to expand its sphere of political and economic influence in the landlocked Himalayan state including an extension of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI),” said The Economic Times.
“India-assisted development and economic projects will figure high on the agenda during Deuba’s trip, said a Nepalese observer, who did not wish to be identified. These include finalization of a joint detailed project report for the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Multipurpose. The trip will provide Deuba, who signed the Indo-Nepal Mahakali Treaty in 1996, an opportunity to discuss with the Indian leadership implementation of the Pancheshwar project, the person said,” writes Indian media.
According to reports, Deuba is also likely to take up the issue of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes withdrawn by India in November 2016 as part of the demonetization drive. As per a directive by the Reserve Bank of India, from January 2015 any Nepalese individual visiting India was allowed to have Rs 25,000 in denominations of 500 and 1,000.
This will be the third visit by a Nepalese PM to India in less than a year – unprecedented in the recent history of Indo-Nepal ties. Then PM Prachanda visited India in September last year, followed by another trip for the BRICS-BIMSTEC outreach meet in October.
Indian media hailed Prachanda saying Prachanda resurrected Indo-Nepal ties that had deteriorated under his predecessor KP Oli proving his Indian critics wrong. He not only brought balance in Nepal’s policy towards India and China but also injected dynamism in India-Nepal ties. He gave impetus to the hitherto neglected area of power, with the result that India is now emerging as a key provider of electricity to its neighbour.