PM to leave for two-day Nepal visit on Sunday

RSTV Bureau

modi_planePrime Minister Narendra Modi will undertake a visit to Nepal on Sunday with an aim of taking the bilateral relations to a higher level through further cooperation in economic and other areas.

Modi will be in Nepal for two days during which the two countries are expected to sign agreements in sectors like power. India may also announce economic aid for the country.

This will be the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Nepal in 17 years, after I K Gujral had travelled there in June 1997, which underlines Modi’s focus on priority to India’s neighbourhood.

The Prime Minister will hold talks with his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala and have the honour of addressing Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, only the second foreign leader after former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl who had done it in early 1990s.

He will also address Nepalese business community and visit the famous Pashupatinath Temple where he would perform a half-an-hour special prayer at the 5th century temple.

He will worship around two dozen idols placed in the Pashupatinath temple complex.

On the occasion, Modi will be presented a replica of Pashupatinath Temple by its authorities.

The temple, listed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites, is one of the most significant Hindu temples of Shiva in the world.

During the trip, India is expected to announce economic assistance and the two sides are likely to sign pacts in sectors like power and culture.

Modi, who has made it clear that neighbourhood will be the priority of his foreign policy, is making Nepal his second foreign destination in bilateral terms after Bhutan.

India is making efforts to boost bilateral ties in all aspects, including defence, security, training, exercises and connectivity.

Cooperation in management of common rivers is a key element of India-Nepal ties. India which at times faces floods because of the rivers originating in Nepal, has been imparting training to Nepalese officials to deal with the problem. It has given Rs 200 crore to Nepal for the purpose.

Nepal PM Sushil Koirala had attended the swearing-in ceremony of Modi as Prime Minister at the latter’s invitation on May 26.

External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said India would like to upscale the relationship beyond 2014 amidst its desire to see stable, democratic and peaceful Nepal.