Modi visit an opportunity to boost Nepal-India ties: Experts

Published On: May 12, 2018 07:08 AM NPT By: Mithilesh Yadav

MITHILESH YADAVJANAKPUR, May 11The first Nepal visit by Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on August 3, 2014 created a buzz across the country. Modi became the talk of the town. People sang his praise. Four years later, he has made his third visit to Nepal but via a different route.

This time, when he landed in Janakpur, the temporary capital of Province 2, around 150,000 locals welcomed him. Lal Babu Raut, the chief minister of the province, reached the airport to officially welcome Modi. On November 26, 2014, he had made his second state visit to Nepal. This visit was more grand than the first one.

On the social media and in Nepal's political circles, there have been some negative comments on Modi's third Nepal visit. The major reason behind this is the Madhes movement of 2015 and the five months long blockade. While some believe that the agitating parties had caused the blockade by obstructing the border after the government became harsher against the Madhes movement, others say it was the Indian government which had imposed the blockade.

Though the people had stopped talking about the blockade, Modi's visit seem to have fueled the extreme feeling of bitterness triggered by the blockade. That bitterness was exploded on internet and other medias this time. This is Modi's third visit to Nepal after he assumed office as the prime minister of India in 2014.

Things are different this time, compared to his previous visits. Differences between Kathmandu and Madhes have now narrowed down and the issue of federal demarcation seems settled at least for now. In the past, Indian premier Modi was here, urging Nepali leaders to make the constitution an acceptable-to-all document.

This time Modi did not try to stress an amendment to the constitution but he rather focused on winning the hearts of people. While addressing the locals on Ranghbhumi ground of Bahrabigha, Modi seemed to be actually trying to please Nepali citizens with his words. During his speech, he repeatedly praised the ' prosperous Nepal, happy Nepal' campaign of PM Oli.

He said that there could be some ups and downs in politics but that is not going to affect the relation between Nepal and India. Commenting on Modi's Nepal visit, political expert Khushi Lal Mandal said, "Though political instability brought some bitterness to India-Nepal relations, the color of culture and tradition is spreading some sweetness." According to him, India can never break its ties with Madhes as they have social bond. He also argued that Modi's visit is an opportunity to improve the relation between the two countries.

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