Modi-Prachanda reset ties; India extends additional Line of Credit to Nepal

After the initial highs and then severe lows in bilateral relation in the last two years, India and Nepal sought to reboot ties on Friday. An inclusive Nepalese constitution and  society development agenda ,security and stability in relations were prominent in talks as Narendra Modi met with his counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal in Delhi’s Hyderabad House.

PM Modi praised Dahal, the man who replaced KP Oli -the predecessor seen as playing the anti-India and pro-China cards.

Dahal popularly known as Prachanda is on his first official overseas visit to India in his second term as Prime Minister, unlike in the first term when he chose to head first to Beijing instead.

Calling Prachanda a ‘catalytic force of peace’, PM Modi commended the role he ‘personally played in strengthening the democratic institutions in Nepal’.

“I am confident that under your wise leadership, Nepal will successfully implement the Constitution through inclusive dialogue accommodating the aspirations of all sections of your diverse society,” said PM Modi in the joint media remarks after post talks.

Prachanda hailed the new constitution of Nepal as historic and stressed,”You are aware that my government has made serious efforts to bring everyone on board as we enter the phase of implementation of the Nepali constitution.”

Earlier addressing the Nepali community at an embassy event upon arrival in Delhi on Thursday evening, Prachanda had accepted that ‘without taking Janjatis,Tharus,Madhesis  into confidence, the right atmospherics cannot be created for implementation of the constitution.’

The entire spectrum of bilateral relations was discussed in restricted and delegation talks, with focus on economic engagement, energy and hydropower sectors.

The two sides signed three agreements including an MoU on Management Consultancy Services for Upgradation/Improvement of Road Infrastructure in Terai Area .An Amendatory agreement to 1 billion US dollar Line of Credit agreement signed on November 25,2014 was inked. This will enable reapportioning of unutilised funds for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in Nepal.

Additionally India has extended a New Line of Credit agreement for 750 million US dollar for post-earthquake reconstruction projects in the Himalayan nation.

Highlighting the agreements Modi said,” I am confident that it would bring relief to millions of people affected by last year’s devastating earthquake in Nepal.India has also agreed to extend additional Line of Credit for new projects such as Phase-2 of Terai Roads, power transmission lines, substations and a polytechnic in Kaski.”

The two leaders also took stock of the open border that witnessed months of blockade, agitation and violent force following the promulgation of the new constitution of Nepal.

“Open borders between our countries provide great opportunities for cooperation and interaction among our people. But, we must also continue to guard against elements that seek to misuse the border,” stressed Modi.

Recognising the need for translating decisions into actions, the two leaders agreed to focus on close monitoring and time bound completion of all development projects.

In his new term that will last for nine months before the baton is passed on to Nepali Congress’s Deuba, Prachanda will have to do a tightrope walk between New Delhi and Beijing Asked about Kathmandu’s proximity to Beijing and projects signed during the KP Oli regime, Indian Foreign Secretary Jaishankar called the Indo-Nepal relationship ‘a unique one.’

“While neighbour’s share geography, not all neighbours have the same historical and cultural binding or an open border,” Jaishankar said downplaying speculations of growing influence of the dragon on Kathmandu.

Prachanda who is being hosted the guest wing of Rashtrapati Bhawan received a ceremonial welcome on Friday morning and later in the evening he called on President Pranab Mukherjee.President Mukherjee is expected to travel to Nepal in the first week of November post Diwali.

The Nepalese PM also extended an invitation to PM Modi for an official visit which Modi accepted. Prachanda will visit the Nathpa Jhakri hydroelectric project in Himachal on Saturday as well as visit Yoga Guru Ramdev’s Patanjali Yogapeeth in Haridwar and hold further meetings in Delhi prior to his departure on Sunday.

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