Modi’s commitment and candour win Nepal, Maoists’ hearts
KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Maoists, once passionately
anti-India, on Monday joined the Himalayan country’s chorus hailing Prime
Minister Narendra Modi for the visit widely tipped to take bilateral relations
to new heights.
On the second and final day of the visit that has
taken Nepal by storm, Modi prayed at the famed Pashupatinath temple, called on
President Ram Baran Yadav and met Maoist leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias
Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai, two men who played a key role in ousting the
After delivering a major address in Nepal’s parliament
on Sunday, Modi on Monday discussed ways to boost bilateral ties with President
Yadav in the company of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. Further details of the
15-minute meeting were not available. It was followed by a vegetarian lunch
that included Gujarati dishes.
It was left to the Maoist leaders to underscore what
Modi had achieved in just 48 hours for India-Nepal relations. “A new chapter
has begun between India and Nepal,” Prachanda told the media after meeting
Modi. “Our talks were very fruitful and very historic. Modi supports the peace
process.” “We are really satisfied with
the talks,” said another Maoist leader, Baburam Bhattarai,
Nepal’s Maoists have in the past been seen as
anti-India and pro-China despite the support the Indian establishment extended
to the fight against monarchy. Modi’s commitment for Nepal’s economic progress
and candour as well as his gesture of getting off his car and meeting commoners
on the streets, have won the Indian leader numerous fans in the country.
Political leaders, including those who regularly rake
up anti-India sentiments, lauded him, particularly after he agreed to revisit
the Nepal-India Friendship Treaty of 1950. The Maoists in particular have
wanted the treaty as its exists to go.
Modi, the first Indian prime minister to make a
bilateral visit to Nepal in 17 years, made banner headlines in newspapers here,
with one saying that he had won hearts and another that his speech in
parliament had left lawmakers spellbound.
Dailies gave wide coverage Monday to the Modi visit.
The Kathmandu Post, Nepal's leading English daily, highlighted Modi's $1
billion offer of soft loan to Nepal.