August 4, 2014


[The Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, feeling "extremely blessed" by Pashupatinath, returned home concluding a two day historic visit to Nepal. He won what he had intended for - the hearts and minds of Nepalese people, both at home and abroad also, as he began addressing Nepalese Parliament in Nepali language for few minutes and then in Hindi, which some jealous Chinese media outlets termed 'rhetoric'(Please see three posts below). PM Modi said, 'India won't dictate Nepal what course she should be taking' because 'she is a sovereign country' and it was a direct reply to some ultra-nationalist Nepalese that over-hype Nepal becoming another Sikkim. He also said, "Buddha was born in Nepal" however, something was going up in the air in Nepal when he had once said, 'Bihar gave the Buddha' during an election speech in Bihar few months ago. Actually he was right because the Buddha had attained enlightenment in Bihar - which would mean the prince became the Buddha in Bihar. He was not saying the Buddha was born in Bihar. Repeatedly 'sweet slapping' New Delhi South Block 'promoted' Nepalese Maoists, Mr. Modi expressed happiness for their coming to peaceful political processes. The Prime Minister also lauded Nepal choosing for federal republican democracy and which literally disheartened those who still wish ousted monarchy back in place. Mr. Modi told the constitution must be of all Nepalese people, was a hint that aspirations of the deprived folks should also be enshrined in it. The Indian PM was there in Kathmandu to discuss 'bridging the border' which has become 'a barrier' to all Nepalese folks also for ISI (Pak Spy Agency) misuse of the soil and increasing Chinese presence in the beautiful Himalayan country. Let's wait and see how Mr. Modi fulfills his promises ahead. - The Blogger] 

[Nepal's suspicion regarding possible monopoly of India facing power scarcity over Nepal's abundant water resources in the future dominated, mainly causing the delay in pact signing for the second time during Modi's two-day sojourn which, Modi himself wished, " will open a new chapter" in India-Nepal ties.]

By Zhou Shengping
KATHMANDU, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrapped up his two-day official visit to Nepal on Monday evening, failing to sigh two much-talked about agreements on the development and sale of hydropower.

These two agreements, the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) and the Power Development Agreement (PDA), were meant to be the main achievements of Modi's visit, the first one by an Indian prime minister in the past 17 years.

The first try to ink the PTA during Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit last month, seen as a curtain raiser to the forthcoming visit of the Indian PM failed because of some contentious clauses in the draft agreement stating 100 percent Indian investment or joint ventures with Indian entities in power generation and transmission.

Nepal's suspicion regarding possible monopoly of India facing power scarcity over Nepal's abundant water resources in the future dominated, mainly causing the delay in pact signing for the second time during Modi's two-day sojourn which, Modi himself wished, " will open a new chapter" in India-Nepal ties.

Despite this disappointment, Modi has spoken and done a lot to warm and win Nepali hearts to take the relations to a new height during his third foreign trip in Nepal in less than 100 days, after he assumed office as the Indian Prime Minister.

During the delegation-level talks held in Kathmandu on Sunday, Modi said India will not interfere with Nepal's internal affairs and all issues will be sorted out mutually and in a friendly way.

The Indian PM won thunderous applause on Sunday from Nepali lawmakers when he mentioned that Buddha was born in Nepal's Lumbini while addressing the Constitution Assembly/Parliament, as the first foreign head of government since the restoration of parliamentary democracy in 1990.

This is also a sensitive issue rousing deep passion between the two counties because some quarters of India claimed that Buddha was born in India.

In the speech, considered by the speech-maker as respect to 1.2 billion Indians, Modi encouraged Nepal to become a powerful nation by developing its huge potentials in tourism, herbal medicines, and so on.

The Indian PM even said Nepal can become a developed nation by selling power to India that wants to buy, instead of getting it free.

Besides these beautiful words, India will provide Nepal a grant assistance worth NRs 69 million (about 690,000 U.S. dollars) to supply iodised salt to curb goiter in rural districts.

Furthermore, during the bilateral talks with Nepal's PM Sushil Koirala, his visiting Indian counterpart announced 1-billion-USD soft loan through the Exim Bank of India to help this Himalayan nation to develop infrastructure and energy projects.

During his trip, Modi mentioned a few times that he will come back to Kathmandu to participate in the 18th SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit this November, hoping to see tangible progress on PTA and PDA before it.


[Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes pledge during a rare visit to Kathmandu, as part of bid to check China's growing influence in region]

Agencies in Kathmandu

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced US$1 billion in aid to Nepal as he sought to speed up progress on power agreements while also aiming to counter rival giant China's influence in the region.

Announcing the line of credit for various development projects, Modi told the Nepalese parliament that he wanted to help develop the landlocked country's infrastructure.

Admitting it was a mistake that no Indian prime minister had visited Nepal for 17 years, he promised that "this will not happen again".

Modi, a right-wing nationalist, has sought to shore up ties with India's neighbours since sweeping to power at national elections in May, in a bid to check China's sway in the region.

"I hope my visit will open a new chapter in India-Nepal relations, characterised by more frequent political engagement and closer cooperation," he said late on Saturday.

Nepal's Prime Minister Sushil Koirala greeted Modi at Kathmandu's international airport, where the Indian leader received a 19-gun salute while an army band played.

Energy security was on top of Modi's agenda, with a push to revive stalled projects and develop hydropower plants using Nepal's abundant water resources and Indian investment. Earlier proposals to develop joint ventures between the two countries have stalled due to disagreements over perceived threats to Nepalese sovereignty, allowing China to step into the breach.

A recently leaked draft plan to develop the hydropower sector using Indian investment sparked a furore in Kathmandu, with politicians and commentators saying it would grant New Delhi exclusive rights to Nepal's water resources.

"Nepalese politicians want India to pay attention to them, but they are also fearful that given a chance, it will take over their resources, being a bigger, more powerful country," said Lok Raj Baral, former ambassador to New Delhi.

India had traditionally exerted huge influence in Kathmandu, leaving many in Nepal wary of New Delhi and eager to embrace Beijing, whose investments they did not see as politically motivated, Baral said.

But Modi took care to ally such fears during his speech to the parliament.

"We have always believed that it is not our work to interfere in what you do but to support you in the path you decide to take."

Stalled Indian projects include a hydropower agreement to develop Nepal's Karnali River signed by Kathmandu and Indian infrastructure giant GMR in 2008.

Nepal cannot meet its own energy needs, forcing the country to endure power cuts of up to 12 hours a day and purchase fuel from India, itself an importer of petroleum products.

Beijing is funding a 60MW power plant on the Trishuli River, already under construction, and a US$1.6 billion, 750MW joint venture plant on the Seti River, which is due to be completed by December 2019.

"Despite geographic proximity, cultural intimacy, economic interdependence and shared political values, India has stumbled in Nepal," wrote C.Raja Mohan, a columnist for The Indian Express.

Citing a growing perception in Nepal that "India promises, China delivers", he wrote that "India's record of project implementation in Nepal is awful".

While India has sought to develop other energy sources at home and in the region, striking deals with Bhutan and BangladeshBeijing has made forays into Sri Lanka and Nepal, leaving New Delhi anxious over the contest for resources.

By Ammu Kannamoilly

Energy was high on the agenda as India's new prime minister, Narendra Modi, began a two-day visit to Nepal on Sunday, eager to reclaim lost ground from China in the race for resources.

A vast network of fast-flowing rivers through the Himalayas leaves huge untapped hydropower resources at Nepal's disposal, and New Delhi has spent years encouraging Indian investment with an eye on the country's water resources.

But proposals to develop joint ventures between India and Nepal have stalled due to disagreements over perceived threats to Nepalese sovereignty, allowing China to step into the breach.