Modi struck the right notes in Nepal, says daily

Posted By: IANS
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Kathmandu, Aug 6: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi struck all the right notes during his maiden visit to Nepal, a leading Nepali daily said.

"Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi struck all the right notes during his two-day official visit to Nepal," the Republica said in its editorial Wednesday

The editorial lauded Modi's repeated assertion that Nepal was now a "federal democratic republic".

The daily noted that there was reasonable scepticism in Nepal over Indian overtures on power, but it said that "Modi, through his unambiguous pledge of mutual cooperation, has gone some way towards assuaging their concerns".

"He (Modi) carefully broached the traditionally touchy issues for Nepalis and tried to reassure them that India under him had Nepal's best interest at heart," the editorial said, while referring to his address to the Nepali parliament.

But despite Modi's assurance that things will be different under him, there are reasons to doubt Indian commitments on power projects and soft loans, the newspaper stated.

During the two-day visit, Modi announced a $1 billion soft loan to Nepal for infrastructure and vowed to expedite the finalization of two energy cooperation related pacts - a Power Trade Agreement and a Project Development Agreement - within 45 days.

"The Pancheswor multipurpose was first finalised during the last Nepal visit of Indian prime minister 17 years ago, but was stalled due to little initiative from India. Former Nepali prime ministers Girija Prasad Koirala and Baburam Bhattarai also extracted similar pledges on soft loans from India, which never came through," it said.

The editorial said an equal blame for such initiatives to fell through lies with the Nepali political establishment.

"Some of the fears were clearly overblown and fanned with the sole purpose of extracting political capital by stirring up the latent anti-India sentiment," it stated.

The editorial highlighted Nepal's inability to spend the development assistance and the need for a stable party at the helm.

"If we can do that, as Modi pledged, India would be more than willing to assist Nepal in its development endeavours," the daily said.

The editorial urged the Nepali leaders to follow Modi's free advice that asked them to think about the country before their political parties.

"Yet until that happens there will be no constitution and there will be no improvement in our bilateral relations with India," it stated.


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