New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Nepal against the backdrop of terrorist attacks on Indian interests and the rising Chinese influence in Nepal. Nepalese Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli had visited India last month.
Prime Minister Modi will be in Nepal on 11th and 12th May, declared the External Affairs Spokesman Raveesh Kumar. Prime Minister Modi will be meeting Nepalese Prime Minister Oli, President Bidya Devi Bhandari and many other important leaders, said Kumar. But Raveesh Kumar did not reveal any further details of the visit.
There were reports that the Indian Prime Minister will soon be visiting Nepal and will lay the foundation stone of the hydro-electric project being built by India in Nepal. Last week there was a bomb blast at the site of the hydel project, which Prime Minister Modi was to lay the foundation stone of. This was the second attack on a location associated with India in just two weeks. The possibility of the notorious Pakistani Intelligence agency, ISI’s involvement was expressed by the Indian intelligence agencies. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Nepal is being made in view of these events.
Prime Minister Oli has assumed power in Nepal only two months ago. The Pakistani Prime Minister’s visit to Nepal before the Nepalese Prime Minister’s visit to India, as also the support expressed by the Nepalese Prime Minister for organising the SAARC conference in Pakistan following the visit are indications of the change in the Nepalese government’s policies towards India.
Nepalese Prime Minister Oli is considered to be a Chinese supporter as in his previous tenure, he had openly taken the Chinese side. Oli had taken the decision to end the Indian monopoly in fuel supply to Nepal. He had also signed important agreements for the ambitious Chinese project Belt Road Initiative (BRI). Prime Minister Oli has declared that these projects in Nepal and China will be completed soon and he has started making rapid movements towards it.
The Chinese government’s mouthpiece, the Global Times while commenting on the Nepalese Prime Minister’s visit to India had claimed that ‘The situation has changed now. Nepal’s previous government had adopted policies favourable to India. However, Oli’s government will not try to maintain a balance between India and China. In fact this government will challenge India by openly cooperating with China’.
Analysts have advised that Nepal which lies between two gigantic countries, India and China should have a balanced approach while also maintaining an independent foreign policy. The democratic forces in Nepal have always insisted on necessitating a positive Indian influence on Nepal. There can be serious repercussions if this government under the Chinese influence continues for a long time and the Maoists have proved this by holding Nepal at ransom since many years, the analysts have drawn attention to this.
Nepal’s journey towards democracy started after being freed from the menace of Maoists and the Indo-Nepal relations also had streamlined due to it. But the current government seems to be challenging these relations. This increases the importance of Prime Minister Modi’s Nepal visit.