PM Modi, PM Deuba agree to enhance India-Nepal cooperation
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nepal’s new Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Monday agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation and strengthen coordination in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
PM Modi spoke on the phone with Deuba a day after he comfortably won a vote of confidence in Nepal’s reinstated Parliament with the backing of his Nepali Congress party and other parties. Modi conveyed his congratulations and best wishes to Deuba on being appointed the prime minister and for winning the confidence vote.
“Recalling the unique and millenia-old people-to-people linkages that underpin the special friendship between India and Nepal, the leaders agreed to work together to enhance bilateral cooperation in all areas,” the external affairs ministry said in a readout of the conversation.
“They discussed, in particular, ways to strengthen cooperation and coordination in the context of ongoing effort against the Covid-19 pandemic,” it said.
In a tweet, Modi said he and Deuba “will work together to further enhance the wide-ranging cooperation between India and Nepal, including in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Deuba secured 165 votes in the vote in the 271-member House of Representatives or Lower House on Sunday evening. A total of 83 MPs, mostly supporters of CPN-UML chair and outgoing premier KP Sharma Oli, voted against Deuba.
The vote of confidence put paid to desperate efforts by Oli to cling on to power after serious differences emerged within the government, especially between Oli and his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”.
On July 12, Nepal’s Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives that was dissolved by Oli on May 21. A day later, Deuba was appointed prime minister for the fifth time in line with an order from the Supreme Court. Under the provisions of Nepal’s Constitution, Deuba had to seek a vote of confidence within 30 days of his appointment.
Nepal’s political leaders had accused President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Oli of subverting the Constitution through their actions.
Deuba is expected to have a tenure of about a year and a half, and repairing ties with India after a border row during Oli’s term will be among his priorities. Nepal is also looking to India to resume supplies of Covid-19 vaccines that have already been paid for. The supply of one million doses of Covishield ordered by Nepal has been held since April, when India stopped exports as part of part of efforts to deal with a second wave of Covid-19 infections.