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Prachanda to visit India in mid- September, discuss major projects

world Updated: Aug 23, 2016 01:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda

Nepal’s new Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” will visit India on September 15.(Reuters File Photo)

Cooperation on several big ticket ventures, including the 6,720MW Pancheshwar power project and the construction of roads in the Terai region, are expected to top the agenda when Nepal’s new Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” visits India on September 15.

Prachanda, who came to power after his predecessor KP Sharma Oli quit, is visiting at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India has already assured him of “full support” for the new government.

Ahead of the visit, Prachanda has sent a special message to Modi that India’s “moral support would be key in completing the remaining task of the peace process and implementation of the new Constitution”, sources said. He has also said he wants to work closely with India to boost development and reconstruction work.

Top Nepalese officials told Hindustan Times that several crucial projects will be discussed during the visit, including the completion of the detailed project report for the Pancheshwar multi-purpose project to be built by a joint venture.

India is also expected to build a polytechnic institute in Prachanda’s hometown of Chitwan. New Delhi is also expected to pledge additional support for the victims last year’s major earthquakes in Nepal as the funding gap could rise to Rs 30 billion.

The construction of “postal roads” – so-called because they were originally developed for the movement of mail – in the Terai plains with Indian funding and the completion of other pending projects will also be discussed during the visit, officials said.

Deputy prime minister Bimalendra Nidhi, who is also the home minister and special representative of the Nepal government, is in New Delhi to prepare the grounds for Prachanda’s visit. He has already held talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, Modi and other senior politicians and officials.

Nidhi carried a wish list from the Nepali side that was discussed with the Indian leadership. His visit was also aimed at resuming high-level contacts after a thaw in bilateral ties following a months-long standoff.

Nidhi is also working out dates for the upcoming visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal and a visit by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to India later this year.

India perceives Nepal’s new government as “comparatively friendly” and soft towards the demands and grievances of the agitating Madeshi groups, which are opposed to the country’s new Constitution. The new government has also indicated it will pursue “balanced and friendly” ties with India and China.