Indian PM arrives in Nepal for two-day visit


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday morning left for a two-day state visit to Nepal. Kathmandu is decorated with welcome gates and the flags of both countries and the major roads have been black-topped to welcome the Indian leader.

On the effect of the visit, PM wrote: "My visit closely follows the State Visit of Prime Minister Oli to India last month".

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Friday tweeted that Modi's Nepal visit would consolidate the principle of neighbourhood first and Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. "The visit is taking place at such an important moment, when a stable government is in place at the centre with the slogan of attaining economic prosperity and development", Manandhar pointed out, adding the visit would be instrumental for Nepal's desire to attain economic progress through cooperation and assistance from India.

In 2017, Chinese firms pledged investments of more than US$8.3 billion (S$11 billion), dwarfing Indian commitments of US$317 million, and in May past year Nepal signed up to Beijing's ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative. King Janak and King Dashratha not only united Janakpur and Ayodhya but also united India and Nepal.

The five hydropower plants have been in the works for over a decade and would be a game-changer for Nepal. "Today, I am extremely happy and grateful that I got this opportunity".

The blockade chocked off Nepal's imports of fuel, medicine and construction material just as it was struggling to recover from the worst quake on record in which 9,000 people were killed. "It is this attachment, this faith, this love that has brought me to Janakpur". I am here to pay respects to King Janak and Mata Janaki.

"Historically India-funded projects, while they seem generous, have struggled to show progress, while the Chinese do it quicker and gain on public opinion", said Kathmandu-based analyst George Varughese.

"Janakpur and Ayodhya are being connected. This is a historic moment".

PM Modi is expected to be accompanied by the high-level officials from both India and Nepal. He said this will act as the foundation for strong people to people contact between the two nations.

Ahead of his visit, Modi said India would remain a steadfast partner of the Himalayan nation in its quest for growth and development.

-Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will be there to welcome his Indian counterpart at the Janaki Temple.

I am confident that my visit will further cement our people-centric partnership with Nepal on the basis of mutual benefit, goodwill and understanding, Modi said.

Apart from the capital Kathmandu, PM Modi will travel to Janakpur and Muktinath, which receive a large number of pilgrims every year.

Three helipads were constructed at the Janakpur Airport for the landing of Modi's helicopter.

-He will also call on President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun. The visits are seen as an attempt to mend the relations between the two countries.

At 10:15 am, PM Modi's plane landed in historical Janakpur, a sub-metropolitan city, and offered prayers at the Janki Temple.

Soothing frayed political feathers will also be high on the Indian PM's agenda in his scheduled meeting with the leaders of all political parties, including Madhes-based parties, Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum and Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal.