Modi to host Oli, reaffirm India's help to develop Nepal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reaffirm India's commitment to development of Nepal when he hosts his counterpart from the neighbouring country, K P Oli, on Friday and Saturday.

Modi will meet Oli at his residence at Lok Kalyan Marg for an informal meeting after the Nepalese Prime Minister arrives in New Delhi on Friday. The two Premiers will have a formal meeting at Hyderabad House on Saturday, when they would also remotely inaugurate the 900 MW Arun III Hydroelectric Project, which India helped build in Nepal, sources here said.

This is Oli's first visit after taking over as Prime Minister for a second term on February 15. New Delhi is keen to make sure that the new government in Kathmandu led by Oli and backed by three left parties does not lead Nepal into a closer embrace with China.

His first term in office from October 2015 to August 2016 witnessed escalation of tension between New Delhi and Kathmandu over the new Constitution of the neighbouring nation.

India and Nepal are unlikely to ink any new agreement after this meeting between the two Prime Ministers. Modi, however, might offer Oli a new credit line from India for development of infrastructure in Nepal.

China's role

A coalition of Oli's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) led by Prachanda and the newly floated Naya Shakti won the elections in the neighbouring country late last year. New Delhi is of the view that China had played a role in bringing the three left parties together ostensibly to pose a challenge to India's traditional influence on Nepal.

New Delhi's relations with Kathmandu came under stress after the new Constitution adopted by the Constituent Assembly of the neighbouring country in September 2015 triggered protests. The disgruntled communities like Madhesis and Tharus resorted to protests in Terai region of Nepal, alleging that the new Constitution failed to allay their concerns of further marginalisation and meet their aspirations. India has been prodding Nepal to make the new statute inclusive and broad-based in approach.

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