India’s prime minister designate Narendra Modi has committed to better relations with Nepal during his tenure.
“Nepal is an old and deeply valued friend. We are committed to strengthening our relations with Nepal in various spheres,” Modi wrote on his Twitter page on Sunday.
The message comes at a time when many in Nepal are wondering if there would be any shift in India’s policy towards its smaller neighbour once the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government assumes power.
Modi was congratulated on his party’s win in the elections by Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Maoist leader and former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.
He thanked them for their wishes on the popular micro blogging site.
Koirala had a 10-minute talk over telephone with Modi and invited the latter to visit Nepal.
Inder Kumar Gujral was the last Indian prime minister to have undertaken an official visit to Nepal in 1997. Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come to Kathmandu in 2002 to attend the 11th SAARC summit.
There were speculations that Manmohan Singh would visit Nepal before his tenure ended. But that didn’t materialize due to the Lok Sabha polls.
Despite concern about a right-wing party coming to power in India, experts here are of the opinion it won’t have any major impact on relations between the two nations.
“There isn’t going to be any substantive change in our relations. Despite minor pinpricks that happen once in a while, our relations will remain strong,” said Lok Raj Baral, former Nepali ambassador to India.
He dismissed speculations that BJP’s landslide win could see revival of Hindutva and pro-monarchy sentiments in the former Hindu nation which abolished monarchy and became a secular state eight years ago.