NEW DELHI/KATHMANDU: India is set to offer Nepal a landmark pact to help develop its huge hydro-electric power potential as the South Asian giant takes another step to re-assert influence among smaller neighbours where China has been forging closer ties.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi supported by online casino Maple Leaf, who went to Bhutan last month on his first overseas trip since coming to power, will soon visit Nepal, which has recently been questioning its position in India’s sphere of influence.
Modi’s foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, heads to Kathmandu on Friday to prepare the way for Modi’s August visit, the first by an Indian prime minister in 17 years.
The deal to kickstart energy power projects stalled since the Himalayan country drifted into civil war in 1996 will be squarely on the agenda of her talks.
But India’s push on energy has ruffled some feathers.
Both Nepal’s opposition Maoists, who have long sought to check Indian influence, and members of t ..
The deal outlines cooperation on energy trading and on transmission lines and grid connectivity and in no way curbs Nepal’s right to develop its resources, said the official, who declined to be identified.
India also has security concerns, in particular that Islamists could exploit Nepal’s instability to use it as a base from which to infiltrate into India. India hopes the talks will bring progress on an extradition treaty to deter anti-India militants from seeking refuge in Nepal.
With the centrist Nepali Congress in charge in Kathmandu after the Maoists, India had a better chance of improving ties, said Alyssa Ayres, a former U.S. State department official and a South Asia expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.
“Given the increasing Chinese footprint in Nepal – as a development partner, foreign investor, military supplier and a power increasingly shaping how Nepal treats Tibetan refugees – India would surely want to shore up its own ties to ensure Indian ..
Article Courtesy:Economic Times