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Modi visit, from people’s perspective
The recent official two-day visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal has been the talk of the town. While both the governments have claimed the visit to be successful, there have been mixed remarks about his visit across the country. In fact, the VVIP motorcade had affected the lives of Kathmandu denizens and social media was flooded with hashtag trends against the blockade imposed by India in 2015.
Meanwhile, the police played a crucial role in oppressing demonstration against Modi. Adding fuel to the fire, the asymmetric Nepali flag in Janakpur and hindrances to Nepali media to properly cover the visit attracted much criticism from general public, while the Indian media was allowed to freely film inside camera-restricted zones.
However, tourism entrepreneurs are positive that Modi’s visit to tourist sites such as Janakpurdham and Muktinath will be catalyst to lure tourists in Nepal.
Regarding the visit of Modi to Nepal, My City’s Kiran Lama talked to tourism entrepreneurs and people from different age and occupation groups in Kathmandu. Excerpts:
Gyanee Tamang, 30
I really didn't like his visit to Nepal. There are lots of dispute between India and Nepal that have not been resolved for long. Modi hasn't shown interest to solve the border issues that Nepali traders face while exporting and importing. Nepali goods are often obstructed at the border while exporting. There is always one or the other issue with the export of tea and ginger. Our traders are also troubled a lot while importing commodities via India. They stop containers at Kolkata and other ports for months which increases costs for our traders. So Modi should help fix these issues to prove India is a good neighbor for Nepal. He visited our country but did not even say a word about the blockade that troubled us so much. How we can accept India as a good neighbor? I just feel that India always wants us to be dependent upon them, making us weak economically and politically.
President, Nepal Association of Tour & Travel Agent (NATTA)
Since the Indian Prime Minister has millions of followers in Tweeter, his tweets about the visit in Janakpurdham and Muktinath have attracted Hindus across the world. They have started to query about these pilgrimages. As a result, today, some people from India chartered helicopter and flew to Mukinath and Janakpurdham. So I believe this will be a game-changing moment for Nepal’s tourism sector. It will be a catalyst to attract more tourists in the future. Moreover, this is free promotion of our touristic sites to the world. And regarding the criticism of Modi, it is a beauty of democracy because in a democratic system, everyone has right and freedom to express their views.
Madan Rai, 28
Actually, Modi succeeded and Oli failed. It's a Modi administration's strategic course correction on their previous blunder. It's a geopolitical diplomacy. And a cunning step of Modi to weaken Oli and his coalition government. It is no surprise that the Nepali people criticized the blockade which breached the international law and treaties. It was one of the biggest failures of Modi government. But the attitude of the Indian authorities are still the same, as it used to be before the Sugauli treaty. This does not correct the political blunders and diplomatic failures. It is sure it takes years to correct their failures. This time, Modi succeeded to reckon and shatter Oli’s strength.
Ashim Rai, 20
Since Modi’s visit to Janakpurdham and Mukinath, Nepal’s tourism will be promoted in the world. So, I think it is a good development. I don’t know why the people are making it a big issue because what had happened has already become past. It was definitely a difficult time during the blockade, but we need to see things from a positive lens. Instead of making negative comments in the social media, we have to see the positive aspects of Modi’s visit.
Govinda Sanjel, 37
I welcomed Modi, and we shouldn’t relate his visit to the blockade because that is a different topic. And criticizing the Modi’s recently visit to Nepal is pointless but that is their right of speech and freedom because every people have their different opinion. But however in my view, there is no other option than welcoming the guest. After all good or bad you can't change your neighbor.
Laxmi Adhikari, 40
Honestly, I don’t have any idea about politics and diplomatic affairs. But, Modi’s visit affected my daily life. Yesterday, due to the VVIP motorcade of Modi, I had to walk from airport to Chabahil. And I also saw that many people, including many children, had to face trouble moving around in town.