Nepal is all set to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is arriving in the country on Friday for a two-day state visit during which he will hold talks with the top leadership here with a focus on implementing key India-assisted projects and building mutual trust. This will be the third visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal and the first high-level visit from India since the formation of the new Government in Nepal. He will start his visit from the historic city of Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita, from Friday morning.
In Janakpur, Modi will visit 20th century Janaki temple and offer special prayers. Later, Prime Minister Modi will be accorded a civic reception by the Janakpur Sub-Metropolitan City at Barhabigha ground. Ahead of the visit, Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali along with India’s Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri visited the city to take stock of the arrangements. The security has been tightened in the city with the deployment of more police personnel.
In the afternoon, the Prime Minister will fly to the capital, Kathmandu, where he will be given a guard of honour by the Nepal Army. Welcome gates with pictures of Modi and his Nepalese counterpart KP Oli have been installed at different places on the way to the main city area from the Tribhuvan International Airport. Roads have been decorated with flags of Nepal and India.
The prime minister will call on Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun and President Bidya Devi Bhandari in the afternoon. In the evening, Modi will hold delegation-level talks with Oli. Later, both leaders will jointly lay the foundation stone of Arun-III hydro power project through a remote system and issue a press statement. Modi will also attend a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Oli.
On Saturday, Prime Minister will visit historic Muktinath temple in Mustang district situated in north-west Nepal to offer prayers Modi will attend a reception hosted by Ambassador Puri in his honour. Leaders of various political parties in the country will call on Prime Minister Modi in Kathmandu. Oli on Tuesday held discussions with former prime ministers and former foreign ministers about Modi’s visit. He briefed them about issues to be taken up with Modi and solicited their advice. Oli also informed Parliament about the visit.
The visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between India and Nepal, and will enable leaders to discuss matters of mutual interest and to strengthen cooperation in all areas of age-old, multi-faceted and expanding partnership between the two countries, the Ministry of External Affairs said in New Delhi said in a statement last week. Official sources in New Delhi earlier said that during Modi’s two-day visit, India will seek to consolidate relationship with the new Nepalese government headed by Oli who has returned to power riding on a spectacular electoral victory and now leads a stable dispensation after years of political instability.
The aim will also be to bring “substance” and “seriousness” in ties, a source said, while expressing the hope that “it will further build trust between the two neighbours”. They said both sides will deliberate on the implementation of the ambitious rail project to link Kathmandu with Raxaul in Bihar and connecting landlocked Nepal with river transport system with India, apart from several other key connectivity projects.
India had offered these mega projects during Oli’s visit here last month, seen as a move to counter China’s efforts to expand influence over Kathmandu by offering various infrastructure projects. Nepalese PM Oli had visited India around a month back which was seen as an attempt to repair Nepal’s ties with New Delhi. In 2016, Oli had publicly criticised India for interfering in Nepal’s internal matters and accused it of toppling his government over the issue of Madhesis, who are mostly of Indian-origin. Modi and Oli are likely to sign a number of pacts and inaugurate the Rs 6000-crore Arun 3 project which is expected to generate around 900 MW of power.
The sources said there may be an announcement on the proposed Ramayan circuit, under which fifteen destinations like Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur and Chitrakoot will be developed to promote religious tourism.