Amid Doklam standoff, ‘friendly neighbour Nepal’ gets a warm welcome
Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who arrived here on Wednesday, asserted Kathmandu’s role in regional affairs, and committed himself to the new democratic Constitution of his country.
Though the official visit will begin only on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke protocol and held a formal meeting with Mr. Deuba in the evening. After the meeting, Mr. Modi said in a social media post, “Happy to welcome Right Honourable Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba ji, PM of close and friendly neighbour Nepal.”
“Political reform goes hand in hand with social and economic reforms. Nepal has a highly progressive Constitution and the Nepali people are at a new turn of reforms,” Mr. Deuba said at an event for the business community, where he welcomed India’s initiatives to ensure steady petroleum supply to his landlocked country.
The new Constitution of Nepal has in the middle of protracted bilateral diplomatic tension as India has demanding amendments to the document to ensure greater role for the Madhesi population.
Mr. Deuba’s visit comes in the backdrop of the India-China standoff at Doklam. Mr. Deuba began his day by meeting his friend and ailing Rajya Sabha member, Devi Prasad Tripathi.
Elections in November
Two days after Nepal announced that the next PM election will be held in November.
Dr. Tripathi said, “2017 is a very significant year for PM Deuba as Nepal is passing through an election season…India’s role is crucial in maintaining political and economic stability in Kathmandu.” He noted that Mr. Deuba had sent a warm message by choosing India as his first foreign destination.