Thaw in frosty Indo-Nepal ties as Prachanda comes calling
NEW DELHI: India will be working hard to win over its lost ground in Nepal after a year of strained ties as the Himalayan nation’s newly elected Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ reached the national capital on his first foreign visit.
Prachanda, accompanied by a 125-member strong delegation will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday where the two countries will be inking various agreements.
Sources indicate that India is likely to offer the east-west railway line project to woo Nepal out of the embrace of China.
The project has been in the offing for a long time, but now discussions on finances are taking place. “The 80-km-long Buddhist circuit will be linking key heritage sites between the two countries,” sources said. This is besides the $1 billion reconstruction grant that India has extended for its reconstruction.
A breakthrough is expected on an agreement on the Panchewhwor Hydro Project in Nepal that has an installation capacity of 48,00 MW. The project was mooted in 1996, but it has not come to any conclusion.
The relations between the two countries have been frosty since an economic blockade crippled landlocked Nepal’s economy. The trade and cargo embargo had started after the new Constitution in the country failed to accommodate the concerns of Madhesis.
Kathmandu has been holding New Delhi responsible for it.
The year 2016 saw the relations take a turn for the worse, with Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandar cancelling her scheduled visit to India.
Prachanda’s visit would bring a much-needed thaw in the bilateral ties.
The Nepalese Prime Minister will be accompanied by his wife Sita, two ministers, senior Nepal government officials and member of business community.
Prachanda, who was elected as the Prime Minister for the second time on August 3, said the top focus of the new dispensation is to create the “right atmosphere” before the implementation of the Constitution and pave way for the necessary amendments.