PM's Nepal visit to speed up joint network projects

Indian Premier Narendra Modi is due in Nepal on Friday for a two-day visit created to mend fences with its smaller neighbor, but anger is still simmering in the landlocked country over a crippling blockade some two years ago.

Besides Janakpur, Modi will also travel to Muktinath temple, a revered site for the Sri Vaishnava sect, which holds the key to election results in parts of Karnataka. Modi will kick start his Nepal tour with a visit to the holy city of Janakpur, located on the Indo-Nepal border. Security has been tightened in the country and as many as 11,000 security personnel from both countries will be deployed during the visit.

During his visit, Prime Minister Modi and his Nepali counterpart K.P. Oli will jointly inaugurate the hydro-electric project Arun III.

The Indian Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of Arun III hydroelectricity project in Sankhuwasabha district of eastern Nepal, undertaken by India's Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam, through videoconferencing.

In the afternoon, Modi will travel to Kathmandu where he will meet Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun. "I will be holding extensive talks with PM Oli on ways to further deepen bilateral cooperation", Modi tweeted.

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In a statement prior to his departure to kathmandu, the Prime minister said, "I will be visiting Nepal on 11-12 May 2018 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of Nepal Rt".

Diplomatically it is important for India to try and regain its earlier closeness to Nepal as Beijing has strengthened its political and economic ties with the country while New Delhi was maintaining its distance. He is scheduled to arrive in Janakpur at 10 a.m. and will be received by Defence Minister Ishwor Pokharel and Chief Minister of Province-2, Lalbabu Raut.

National flags of Nepal and India are placed right in front of the temple.

With polls under the 2015 constitution in November-December bringing Oli back to power with a two-thirds majority, New Delhi now aims to engage Kathmandu to ensure that Nepal does not develop too friendly ties with China. 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. "We hope to get land clearances faster", sources said.

Nepalese PM Oli had visited India around a month back which was seen as an attempt to fix Nepal's ties with New Delhi.

  • Sonia Alvarado