Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who took over from Maoist leader Prachanda in a power- sharing deal in June, will visit India on his first official trip overseas from August 23, a media report said today. Deuba’s five-day state visit will come at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, The Kathmandu Post reported. The 71-year-old veteran Nepali politician known for his close ties to India took over the reigns of Nepal when the Himalayan nation was navigating a political turmoil over the implementation of the Constitution and unrest in the southern plains due to the Madhesi agitation. Deuba had played a key role in bringing the Madhes-based parties on board for the second phase of the local-level polls held on June 28. His visit will come ahead of the third and final phase of the polls scheduled for September 18. Deuba’s visit will focus on implementing the past accords that were signed during his visits to India in 1996, 2002 and 2004 as prime minister. “We have received two clear instructions from the prime minister,” two senior officials engaged in the preparations for the visit told the Post.
“First, the prime minister is keen to implement the past agreements reached during his three visits to India. While dwelling on the status of the India-funded projects, the prime minister also plans to discuss the issues, if any, that have impeded the projects,” said a senior official. “Second, the prime minister has told officials that there must be some concrete outcome from the visit,” the official told the daily. The Rs 30,000-crore bi-national Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project and other energy and infrastructure related projects are likely to be high on the agenda during Deuba’s visit. The project aims to produce 5,000 MW of electricity. In 1996, Deuba and then Indian prime minister PV Narasimha Rao had held discussions on reviewing the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty and expediting the implementation of the Mahakali Treaty, including the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project and its financing model, Saptakoshi High Dam, Sunkoshi Diversion, Karnali Multipurpose Project and Budhi Gandaki Hydro Electricity Project, among others, the report said.
In 2002, India and Nepal had agreed for the early conclusion of the Agreement for Mutual Legal Assistance and updating the Extradition Treaty and construction of four Integrated Check-Posts along the Nepal-India border, it added. Both sides had called for a plan of action for the early commencement of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project. But a detailed project report is yet to be completed. “Time has come for both sides to find out why there has not been desired progress on several understandings reached in the past,” the Post quoted Dinesh Bhattarai, foreign relations adviser to Deuba as saying. Deuba is likely to visit Bodh Gaya in Bihar and Tirupati Balaji Temple in Andhra Pradesh after concluding his engagements in New Delhi.