Modi pays surprise call on Nepal PM

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 24 Aug 2017 09:01:27



PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday paid a surprise call on visiting Nepalese Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, signifying the importance India attaches to ties with its close neighbour amid China’s active wooing of Kathmandu.

“Happy to welcome Rt Hon Sher Bahadur Deubaji, PM of close and friendly neighbour Nepal. Look forward to more extensive talks tomorrow,” Modi tweeted. The unexpected meeting between the two Prime Ministers came a day ahead of formal talks between the two sides. Deuba, on a five-day state visit, will be given a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday. Earlier, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj received Deuba on his arrival - in another significant gesture of friendship.

Deuba chose India for his first overseas visit after becoming Prime Minister in June. Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhayay termed Modi’s call a ‘warm-up’ ahead of the official talks on Thursday.

Deuba’s state visit comes days after Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang was in Nepal during which the two sides signed several major agreements to boost energy and economic ties.

The Deuba visit also comes amid a dragging standoff between Indian and Chinese troops on the Doka La issue that has escalated tensions between the two.
On Thursday, the two sides will hold talks following which Modi and Deuba will remote launch from Hyderabad House the Katiya-Kushaha and Raxaul-Parwanipur cross-border transmission line for supply of 50 MW each.