Denouement is nigh
Staff Writer, KATHMANDU: Prime Minister K P Oli is in New Delhi on what is now an extended visit that appears to be centered on business for a change. Of course, when Narendra Modi is involved, one cannot expect anything less than more of business generation.
Just in the event it turns out to be true, it should be taken as a welcome departure from tradition that merely involved Nepalese prime ministers flying to New Delhi and nearly always giving away Nepalese interests.
Meanwhile the fact that the visit could end up being a high voltage affair in comparison becomes evident from the fact that it has happened more because the Indian side insisted on it than the other way round. PM Oli was planning to fly to Beijing and turn new leaf in Nepalese foreign policy instead.
It is assumed to be indeed a high voltage business visit largely because the host is Modi who chases economic agenda everywhere he goes. However business talks with Nepal will limit to river harnessing with a number of projects on the anvil but stuck owning to disparate reasons.
But India today is different from India of the bygone days. With Modi at the helm India is moving at a rapid pace, or at least picking up the momentum. This would suggest both sides agreeing to a timeline in the implementation of various water-related projects.
That would also demand desired level of preparedness on the Nepalese side and whether Modi wants to do business with Oli at all. But had he not been keen to do business with Oli he had all the option of not inviting him in the first place. What this means is the visit is significant and could throw up benefits. That is at least until the denouement. Modi may offer to contribute immensely in rehabilitation of the earthquake affected population, though.
India today is different than India of the bygone years. Much of what transpired between Nepal and India goes back to the conclave of the RSS six months which handed agenda to Modi. It passed a bunch of agenda for Modi and he had got down to work, with Nepal feeling the heat soon enough.
The visit will be significant in both good and bad ways whatever is the final denouement. Modi has recently issued a call “Saab ka Saath, Saab Ka Bikas” while throwing open SAG Games in Assam only recently. He said this with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in mind. He renewed sub-regional development agenda.
But what has to be kept in mind is business is conducted only after putting politics in right perspective. And that is therefore a prime agenda at the very top. Modi is a ruthless man and known to push through just about anything which comes in the way.
Look how he is goading Pakistani government into eliminating terrorists groups. The objective is clear he wants to conduct business with neighbors on his terms alone. If Modi can rattle fundamentalist regimes like in Pakistan, he can certainly have his way on Nepal.
Looked at in this light, PM Oli may come back talking business much like Modi, thus setting in new phase of politics on this side of the border, thus setting in optimism in a country where power outage is killing. If that is the case PM Oli can also expect to last longer in hot seat.
But it is too early to rush to any conclusion for sure. We are yet to know what transpires between Oli and Modi behind closed doors and what comes out of it. Modi can be expected to make sure that Nepal does not romance too much with China and Indian interests are served unhindered while also curbing Christian internationalists and Muslim fundamentalists.
We are also yet to know how Oli will conduct himself in the backdrop of his remarks that he will go to China after returning from India. Essentially, it is all about how the denouement unfolds before the world knows what Modi expects from Nepal and how far he can he go to achieve his objectives. Denouement is nigh.
:: Nepalese Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, left, is greeted by Indian Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, as he arrives in New Delhi, India, Friday. Oli is on a six-day tour of India. (Photo: AP)