Anil Giri reports from Kathmandu on Modi’s visit to the Himalayan country
The commitments and candour in the expressions of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meetings in Kathmandu have paved the way for the two countries to renew their bilateral relations with political leaders across the spectrum lauding his approach and statements.
On Sunday evening, Modi addressed a section of Nepali politicians who regularly rake up anti-India sentiments and demand that the Nepal-India Friendship Treaty of 1950 be revisited, something that the Indian prime minister has promised to do.
“What kind of changes do you need in the 1950 treaty? I urge you all to come to a common ground and present a new proposal. But I also ask you not to do politics over it which would not benefit either side,” Modi said in a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
A section of Nepal’s polity, particularly the Maoists, have been urging that the treaty be replaced, given the changed political context but have been failing to arrive at a concrete solution. The recently-concluded third meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission agreed to work on a replacement and the ball is now in Nepal’s court, say observers.
Though Modi’s remarks have impressed Nepali leaders, it is very difficult for politicians in Nepal to arrive at a consensus given their fractured and almost divided ideology.
UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, who was seen thumping the desk repeatedly when Modi addressed the Nepali parliament Sunday, was all praise for Modi. “Modiji open-heartedly supported the ongoing peace process in Nepal. As a signatory the peace process, we are really happy over this comment.”
“The way Modi presented himself, the way he laid out the bilateral priorities, the time has now come to work together,” said Nepali Congress Vice President Ram Chandra Poudel.
Former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, a key of Maoist ideology, said Modi’s remarks were a “good gesture”.
“PM Modi has won d heart&mind of Nepalese people with his magical address 2 d legislature-parliament of Nepal,” Bhattarai tweeted.
Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat tweeted immediately after Modi’s address to parliament: “Said many things in impressive manner making Nepali people proud. Also about our prospect if we work hard to make that reality.”