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India visit current now and focused on repair job

Staff Writer, KATHMANDU: Prime Minister K P Oli is flying to New Delhi finally on what is now a five day affair on February 19. It has come to light while the Indian side was trying to cut it two days, the same has been turned into a five-day visit on the insistence of PM Oli. He will be flying on 19 and returning on 23.

Apart from high ranking government officers and ministers, there will be a good mix of businessmen but private sector media has been kept out of it which appears to be as desired by Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who does not take private sector media representatives with him.

The contingent will however be finalized on Friday at a cabinet meeting which will fine tune agenda of the visit.

The visit is being seen as something that will iron out the differences which have soured the relationship between the two countries. But the government is however not yet clear as to how to do it. While Oli is claimed to have decided to address certain security concerns of the Indian side but what is not yet clear is whether India will be satisfied with that just yet, thus putting the relations on track.

The relations which had soured when PM Modi was denied visit to Muktinath and Ram Janaki temple in Janakpur had further worsened when Nepal denied to listen to Indian advise when promulgating the new constitution in September. The government headed by Congress leader Sushil Koirala had denied to postpone the promulgation of the constitution by few days although PM Oli had sent special envoy to do it.

The government had ignored the Indian suggestion that the differences in how the constitution should address the issue of tarai could be sorted out by working on it for a few days. What had followed next was both PM Oli and Prachanda had started speaking against Indian involvement, thus breaking the hell loose.

Meanwhile it is being said that any improvement in relations will involve going back to the point where the things had gone wrong. No one is of the view that the relations may improve just on the basis of putting forth views in beautiful vocabulary. What is not yet clear is what Prime Minister Oli has in his mind on the issue of improving the ties.

Neither has New Delhi come to the view that Prime Minister Oli is intent on improving ties just yet. Such being the state of affairs the Indian side has invited him to New Delhi just to give Nepal a chance to improve ties. Indian counterpart Modi personally has been claimed to be keen to give PM Oli a chance to talk his mind out.

Earlier Deputy Prime Minister Bishnu Paudel had visited New Delhi to pave way for the visit even as communication between the two leaders is taking place through informal means. It is learned that PM Oli may agree to turn Nepal into a Hindu state just in the event he gets to meet Modi in one-on-one meeting during the visit. But diplomats do not think Prime Minister Modi will talk about it.

Importantly, Oli is expected to pitch for Indian support to the government led by him amid reports that he might soon bow out of office with Congress bracing to come back to power after its general convention. DPM Paudel has sought at least one more year to the government led by Oli from the Indian side.

Prime Minister Oli is travelling to New Delhi only after the multi-party mechanism starts working on federating the country along desired lines and thus address the issues raised by India and tarai centric parties. PM Oli had spoken in parliament in what is a formality in the run up to the visit. He expressed the view that three months would be enough to sort out the issues. Saying that constitution was conducive to amendments PM Oli stressed the fact that necessary debate was essential on issues of foreign policy.

Published Date: Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 | 09:45 PM

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