Indian PM visits Nepal as relations recover but China competition remains

Indian PM visits Nepal as relations recover but China competition remains

May 10, 2018-On the eve of his third visit to Nepal, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that he would be holding extensive talks with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on ways to further deepen bilateral relations. "(PM Modi) he is coming here for the first time along with Nepal's Prime Minister (KP Sharma Oli)".

SPEEDY implementation of key India-assisted projects and building trust will be among the focus areas when Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Nepal on Friday, a visit reflective of attempts to bring back normalcy in Indo-Nepal ties after a spell of uneasiness.

Modi will arrive in Janakpur on May 11, where he is likely to announce special assistance to the city, which features prominently in the Indian government's plan to promote the Ramayana circuit.

During his visit, Prime Minister Modi and his Nepali counterpart will jointly inaugurate the hydro-electric project Arun III. Later, Prime Minister Modi will be accorded a civic reception by the Janakpur sub-metropolitan city at Barhabigha ground.

The entire temple premise is decorated with fresh flowers and posters welcoming PM Modi are hung outside the temple.

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Prime Minister Modi is also scheduled to meet with President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun. As part of the new "game-changer" initiatives in the field of connectivity - including a proposed new electrified railway line with Indian financial support that will connect Raxaul in Bihar with the Nepalese Capital Kathmandu - that had been decided by the two countries when Mr. Oli had visited New Delhi about a month ago, sources said India has already identified the "Indian entity" that will carry out a survey for the project.

Sources said the Prime Minister will also meet leaders of Madhes-based parties, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal (SSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN). Despite its traditional ties with India, Nepal will cooperate with China and use Indian-Chinese competition to extract benefits from both its large neighbours. The visit will be the first by the leader after Nepal elected a new government under the 2015 constitution. This will be the Prime Minister's third visit to the Himalayan state since he took over the reins of the government in 2014.

Modi will also attend a banquet hosted by Oli tomorrow. During the meeting held in Kathmandu on Tuesday evening Oli briefed them about issues to be taken up with PM Modi and solicited their advice.

And, there is confusion about whether the Modi visit reflects a course correction in India's policy towards Nepal.

Oli's visit was seen as an attempt to fix Nepal's ties with New Delhi.

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