Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday asked Nepal to complete its constitution drafting through “consensus” and not through the strength of the majority.
“My appeal is that Nepal’s constitution should represent every community. The constitution should not be made through numbers, but through consensus,” Modi said, with Nepal PM Sushil Koirala seated on the dais.
He also underlined that India is not going to interfere in Nepal’s constitution writing process, which has been caught in disputes between parties over a number of issues including “federalism”. The deadline for constitution promulgation is January 22 and many feel the deadline will be missed again.
Modi is learnt to have told the leaders across parties — he met them separately — that “he will wait for phone calls from each one of them on January 22 about completion of the constitution promulgation”.
In his speech, Modi said the new constitution should reflect the aspirations of Madhesis (those from the plains), Pahadis (from the Hills) and the Maoists and other people in the country. “Delay in writing the constitution will not be in Nepal’s interest,” he said.
Within a couple of hours of his arrival, Modi used the inauguration of a trauma centre — built with Indian aid — as a platform to announce delivered “outcomes” within 100 days of his his last visit in August this year.
“Things which have been stuck for the last 25 to 30 years have been cleared in less than 100 days. The relations has got an engine of trust,” he said.
He chose to make his second visit in four months an occasion to ‘gift’ many things to Nepal, relating most of it to what he had said or promised a 100 days ago. In all, there were 17 outcomes including 10 pacts cutting across sectors.
Besides the trauma centre, Modi also announced the delivery of a ALH Dhruva helicopter to the Nepal Army.
A ‘regular bus” service between Kathmandu and Delhi, was also flagged off, and Modi said he has asked officials to explore the possibility of Wi-Fi facility in the bus.
He also announced that the ban in Nepal on Rs 500 and 1,000 denomination Indian notes has been lifted ‘subject to a ceiling of Rs 25,000′.
Prime Minister Modi was the star attraction for children from Kendriya Vidyalaya in Kathmandu, who came to welcome him at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza hotel with Indian flags in their hands. One of them, Samriddhi, a 10-year-old girl from Class V, said Modi asked him whether she has visited India. When she replied in negative, he asked her if she wanted to visit. She said yes.
WORDS OF ADVICE
The Indian PM’s direct statement to Nepalese leaders to complete the Constitution drafting process by December 22 sounded prescriptive to some. To counter the impression, MEA officials were trying their best to project it as an “advice” or a “counsel”, and not as a “prescription”.
When the Kathmandu-Delhi bus service was being flagged off, Modi went up the bus and met passengers. Apart from this route, two more routes have been finalised which are Kathmandu-Varanasi and Pokhra-Delhi. Modi has asked officials to work out Wi-Fi facilities on board the bus.