When Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” arrives in the Indian capital on Thursday for a state visit, the focus will be on mending ties and boosting trust and confidence with Indian leaders.
The visit comes after bilateral ties hit an all-time low over the economic blockade of key border trade points and inconclusive dialogue over the promulgation of Nepal’s controversial new Constitution. Several attempts by the Nepal government to address shortcomings raised by agitating groups led to little success.
Prachanda told Parliament on Wednesday that his visit is aimed at boosting confidence and trust with India. Dispelling the impression that he would sign new agreements, he said he would instead focus on implementing earlier treaties.
Discussions would also be held on economic and physical infrastructure projects, said Prachanda, who is embarking on his maiden foreign visit at the invitation of his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“Talks will be held on immediate launching of the first phase of construction works of the postal highway, the second phase of construction and the implementation of Power Trade Agreement and Pancheshwar Project’s study report,” he said.
The immediate construction of an integrated check post at Bhairahawa and Biratnagar and resumption of work on the Birgunj check post will also figure in the talks. These projects are being undertaken with Indian assistance.
Prachanda further said discussions would be held on trade concessions, cutting Nepal’s trade deficit, completing a cross-border railway service and direct transit facilities from Bangladesh. The problem of flooding in border areas will also be broached.
Ahead of his address, lawmakers urged Prachanda not to sign any deal that goes against Nepal’s interests and to openly speak of “unequal” treaties with his counterpart.