Nepal PM invites Modi to attend donors' conference

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday received an invitation from his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koirala to address a conference being held in Kathmandu later this month to raise fund for reconstruction of the neighbouring country that was devastated by an earthquake a couple of months ago.

Modi reassured Koirala of “India’s unwavering and sustained support to Nepal” in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in areas hit by the devastating earthquake.

The prime minister, however, remained non-committal about attending the conference of donors, which the Nepalese government is set to hold in Kathmandu on June 25 in order to solicit funds from the international community for reconstruction of the quake-hit nation.

Modi, according to the official sources, told Koirala that he would participate in the conference if his schedule permitted. He, however, assured him that a senior minister of his cabinet would attend the conclave as a representative of India.

He also told the Nepalese prime minister that New Delhi’s support to reconstruction efforts in Nepal would be guided by “the preference and priorities” of Kathmandu.

New Delhi was very quick to respond to Kathmandu’s call for help after the earthquake devastated much of Nepal on April 5. The “Operation Maitri” launched by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and National Disaster Response Force to rescue and provide relief to the victims won hearts in Nepal, where New Delhi competes with Beijing for clout.

Modi assured Koirala that India would respect and be with Nepal in all its decisions in connection with reconstruction. He also reaffirmed that India has always been guided by humanitarian concerns in a spirit of equality and friendship, Prime Minister’s Office stated in a press release.

Koirala also sent his Finance Minister Ram Chandra Mahat to meet Modi and handover to him a personal invitation to attend the conference in Kathmandu. Mahat called on Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during his visit to New Delhi.

Koirala congratulated Modi for the latter’s successful visit to Bangladesh and described it as “yet another example” of his successful “Neighbours First Policy” and his commitment to deepen relations with neighbours of India.

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