Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal has raised many hopes and questions regarding relations between the countries

KATHMANDU — Modi’s visit to Nepal is the first by an Indian premier in 17 years since Inder Kumar Gujral visited in 1997. The visit is aimed at boosting economical ties and relations between Kathmandu and New Delhi.

“I hope my visit will open a new chapter in India-Nepal relations, characterised by more frequent political engagement and closer cooperation across the full spectrum of our extraordinarily broad-based relations, which will serve as a model and catalyst for South Asian partnership for prosperity,” Modi said.

The visit was deemed successful by most in strengthening ties and feelings of goodwill between the countries. The planned return of the Indian Prime Minister for the SAARC Summit in November further adds to what many are calling a breakthrough.

Modi’s visit to the Pashupatinath Temple softened many people’s hearts, as the majority of people in both India and Nepal are Hindu. Before leaving, Modi wrote in the visitor’s book: “Pashupatinath unites Nepal and India, and I pray that he continues to bless the people of the two countries. This is what I seek.”

“Every interlocutor we have met since this morning, starting with the President of Nepal, said that this is something that they had never heard from anyone else; this is something that had touched both their hearts and minds, this is something that Nepalis would remember for a long time,” said Syed Akbaruddin, the diplomatic spokesman.

In addition, the visit acted as advertisement for Nepal, and the hope that the country will export electricity to India also raises economical hopes of being able to control and benefit further from the hydropower project.

Many also hope that the bi-national hydropower Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project will be finalised. The project will use Nepalese resources to provide energy to both India and Nepal. However, the signing of the contract has been deferred until further details of a revised draft are scrutinised and agreed upon by both countries.

— Emma Sofia Asberg, Correspondent (Politics)

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