MODI’S FOURTH VISIT Establishing Intimacy

In his fourth visit to Nepal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought Nepali Prime Minister K.P.Sharma Oli much closer to him

Sept. 8, 2018, 12:50 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL 12 No.04, September 07, 2018 (Bhadra 22, 2075) Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

As it is said, there is nothing impossible in diplomacy. This is what Nepali Prime K.P. Sharma Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have shown in their recent meeting.

Although Nepalese Prime Minister Oli and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi do not have any commonality in personal faiths, communist leader Oli is a non-believer and Modi is a devout Hindu, individual convictions did not prevent them from establishing strong personal and intimate relations at the political level.

Prime Minister Oli, who has never worshipped at the Pashupatinath Temple, jointly inaugurated Dharmasala built at Pashupati with PM Modi, who claimed himself as a diehard devotee of Shiva or Pashupatinath.

Inaugurating Dharmasla, Indian Prime Minister Modi hailed KP. Sharma Oli, who did not spare any time in 2015 to launch a hate campaign against Prime Minister Modi and Indian policy, as a genuine friend. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India has touched new heights of economic development and shining like a star on the path of ‘reform, perform and transform’. Addressing the gathering after jointly inaugurating Nepal Bharat Maitri Dharamshala with his Nepalese counterpart in Kathmandu Modi said that people of Nepal also have an equal place in India's motto of "Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas".

Prime Minister Modi also said that helping neighbors and walking together on the path of happiness and prosperity is part of “our” tradition.

Modi assured that India is committed to continue its cooperation in the welfare and development of Nepal and its people. He stressed the need for more people to people contact of the two countries for strengthening the bilateral relationship.

The Prime Minister said that Dharamshala is not merely a building but a strong pillar of Indo-Nepal friendship. He expressed gratitude towards Government of Nepal for its decision to translate former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee's poems in Nepali language.

In his address Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli said that his government will take forward the new journey that had begun. He also expressed thankfulness towards India for constructing Dharmashala.

Prime Minister Modi said his visit to Nepal will further deepen India-Nepal friendship as he wrapped up the two-day tour after attending the 4th BIMSTEC Summit and holding a series of bilateral meetings with regional leaders.

Prime Minister Modi concluded his visit after offering prayers at the Pashupatinath temple, the most sacred and oldest temple of Shiva (Pashupati) in Nepal.

"I thank my sisters and brothers of Nepal for their warmth and affection during my visit. This visit will further deepen India-Nepal friendship. I would like to specially thank PM KP Sharma Oli and the Govt. of Nepal for hosting a wonderful and productive BIMSTEC Summit," Modi tweeted.

Modi met Oli on the sidelines of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit and they held a detailed review on all aspects of the bilateral relationship including ways to further deepen economic and trade ties.

Railway Agreement

India and Nepal exchanged MoU to build a strategic Raxaul-Kathmandu railway line, connecting Bihar's Raxaul city to Kathmandu.

The MoU was signed by Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Madhusudan Adhikari, from Nepali side and Manjiv Singh Puri from the Indian side.

The strategic railway link between Raxaul and Kathmandu will facilitate people-to-people contact and bulk movement of goods. The development gains significance as it comes two years after China agreed to construct a strategic railway link with Nepal through Tibet with an apparent aim of reducing Kathmandu's dependence on India.

This was the third meeting between Modi and Oli this year. They met earlier during Oli's visit to India in April and the subsequent visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal in May.

"Our deliberations were wide-ranging, covering multiple aspects of India-Nepal relations," Prime Minister Modi said after the meeting on the sidelines of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit. "We discussed ways to further deepen our economic, trade and cultural ties. Enhancing connectivity between our nations was discussed as well," he added.

Ministry for External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the two leaders held a detailed review on all aspects of the bilateral relationship. They had a "warm meeting", Kumar added.

This agreement also comes years after a sense of mistrust had prevailed when certain sections in Nepal blamed India for the 135-day blockade in 2015 - 2016 that had crippled Nepal's economy.

Keshab Poudel

Keshab Poudel

Poudel is the editor of New Spotlight Magazine.

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