New Delhi/Kathmandu: There was a bomb blast at the site of the hydro-electric project that India is erecting for Nepal, on Sunday. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Nepal on 11th of May for laying foundation of the same project, but the project has been targeted just before this visit. No one has accepted the responsibility of the blast, but this is the second incident targeting Indian interests in Nepal, in the last fortnight.
There was a major blast in the campus of the Indian embassy at Biratnagar in Nepal on the 17th of April. The media had carried a report claiming that the intelligence agencies have suspected a hand of the Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI in the blast. One wall of the embassy had collapsed in the blast. Fortunately, there were no casualties.
There was a similar blast in the office of the hydro-electric project being built by India, on Sunday morning. The Collector of the Sankhuwasabha district informed that although there was damage caused to the project office in the blast, there were no casualties. This Hydroelectric project being erected by India in Nepal is worth 900 Megawatts and is being built in Tumlingtar region of the Sankhuwasabha district.
This Project was agreed upon in 2014, while Sushil Koirala was the Prime Minister of Nepal. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will be laying the foundation of this project on 11th of May. The completion date is targeted to be 2020 for this project, which is being built with an investment of USD 1.5 billion.
The Nepalese investigation agencies are investigating the blast. Nepal has faced instability and violence on a big scale over the last one and a half year. Thousands have been killed in the violence by China- backed Maoists. But after establishment of a democratic government in Nepal, the Maoist organisations also participated in the democratic process. Although, this has created political instability in Nepal following this, the incidences of violence have reduced considerably.
The Communist Party led by K.P. Sharma Oli has recently come to power in Nepal with a majority. The Nepalese Prime Minister, K.P. Sharma Oli is considered to be a Chinese supporter. The Nepalese policies are seen to be changing rapidly since he assumed power. As per the tradition, he chose India for his first foreign visit. But at the same time, he has started preparations to streamline the agreements he had signed with China, during his previous stint as the Nepalese Prime Minister.
More importantly, Oli has started preparations to deliver a blow to the Indian interest by establishing relations with Pakistan. Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had visited Nepal a few days ago. With this, Prime Minister Oli has given indications that Nepalese policies will not remain India- centric in future.
Prime Minister Oli has also supported the proposal to hold the SAARC conference in Pakistan. India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and other countries were completely opposed to holding the SAARC conference in Pakistan. Nepal also held a similar position. Prime Minister Oli seems to have made changes to the policy.
Against this background, the new spate of targeting Indian interests in Nepal attracts attention. It was seen that ISI of Pakistan had had a hand in the blast at the Indian embassy at Biratnagar. ISI is known to be planning such activities against India. The suspicion of ISI having a hand in the blast at the hydro-electric project has therefore deepened.