File photo of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Nepal is all set to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PM Modi will begin his official trip from May 11 and will visit three cities - Kathmandu, Muktinath and Janakpur - in two days.
Speedy implementation of key India-assisted projects and building trust will be among the focus areas of the visit. Government sources said that during Modi's two-day visit, India will seek to consolidate relationship with the new Nepalese government of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli who has returned to power riding on a spectacular electoral victory and now leads a stable dispensation after years of political instability.
PM Modi will arrive in Janakpur's Baarhabigha on Friday by a chopper from Patna in Bihar. The Prime Minister will address a public rally and visit the historic Janakpur temple where he will be accompanied by his Nepalese counterpart. Modi will be given a civic reception at Janakpur. In the afternoon, he will travel to Kathmandu where he will meet the Nepalese President, Vice President and hold wide-ranging talks with Oli.
Modi and Oli are likely to sign a number of pacts and lay the foundation for Rs 6,000-crore Arun 3 project, the biggest hydel power project being built in Nepal. It is expected to generate around 900 MW of power.
In Kathmandu, Modi will also meet former Nepalse prime ministers Sher Bahadur Deuba and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, besides the leaders of two Madhesi parties.
The remote Mustang region is also a part of PM Modi's itinerary. In Mustang, the Indian PM will visit pilgrimage site of Muktinath which is a sacred place for both Hindusand Buddhists. Within Hinduism, it is called Mukti Kshetra, which literally means the "place of liberation or moksh". This temple is considered to be 106th among the available 108 Divya Desam considered sacred by the Sri Vaishnava sect.
The leaders of the two countries will also take this opportunity to deliberate on implementation of the ambitious rail project to link Kathmandu with Raxaul in Bihar and connecting landlocked Nepal with river transport system with India, apart from several other key connectivity projects, sources said.
Modi's visit to Nepal comes a little more than a month after Prime Minister Oli visited India. Oli had invited Modi to his country. During Oli's visit, both sides had vowed to step up the overall engagement and take the relationship to newer heights on the basis of "equality, mutual trust and respect".
The intention is to build on PM Oli's visit and and carry forward pending proposals.
India is Nepal's largest trade partner and the largest source of foreign investment, besides providing transit for Nepal's traders. India accounts for over two-third of Nepal's merchandise trade, about one-third of trade in services, 46 per cent of foreign direct investment, almost 100 per cent of petroleum supplies and a significant share of inward remittance on account of pensioners and workers.
This will be Modi's third to Nepal after taking over as PM in 2014. After talks with Oli last month, Modi had said India would always stand by Nepal in its quest for all-round growth, asserting that deeper cooperation between the two neighbours would strengthen democracy in that country.
(With inputs from agencies)