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General Awareness Topic - Modi's Visit to Nepal: A New Chapter in Bilateral Relations

A New Chapter in Bilateral Relations
MBA aspirants must be updated with General Awareness on current topics. General awareness topics with analytically drawn conclusions will benefit you in Essay writing  / GD & PI. Today, you will read General Awareness Topic: Modi's Visit to Nepal : A New Chapter in Bilateral Relations !
A country lying between two potentially hostile or rival nations which helps in preventing the conflict between them is called as buffer state. Nepal is playing the role of buffer state between India and China. It makes Nepal a strategically important state for both India and China. Nepal shares 1850 kilometre long border with India and its boundary touches five Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Sikkim. In order to have cordial relation with the strategically important state, India has provided unparalleled advantages and facilities to Nepalese citizens, at par with Indian citizens.
For further cementing the relations with Nepal, Indian Prime Minister went on a two days visit to the buffer state on August 3, 2014. In less than three months after becoming Prime Minister, this is his second visit to a neighbouring country after Bhutan. Incidentally, Bhutan also happens to be the buffer state between India and China. Thus, Modi’s visit to Nepal can also be viewed as a move to prevent buffer states from skidding away towards China. 
Now the Indian government is harnessing support from the smaller countries in the region that have in recent years turned to China for quick implementation of energy and transport projects. This is the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Nepal in 17 years.
Indian Prime Minister received an overwhelming welcome in Nepal where Nepali PM Mr. Sushil Koirala received him, departing from the protocol. Indian PM was accorded a guard of honour by the Nepali Army followed by a 19 gun salute. He also addressed Nepal Constituent Assembly becoming the second foreign leader to address constituent assembly. Earlier in 1990, the then German Chancellor Helmut Kohl had delivered a keynote speech to the Constituent Assembly.
During the visit, Indian PM announced NRs 10,000 crore (US$ 1 billion) as concessional line of credit to Nepal for various development purposes which is separate from the previous assistance that India has already provided to Nepal. It will be utilised for infrastructure development and energy projects as per Nepal’s priority. Earlier, India had provided $250 million line of credit to Nepal through the Exim Bank of India. PM Modi also proposed a ‘HIT’ formula for rapid development of Nepal where H implies for Highways, I for Information Technology and T for Transmission lines.
Many political parties in Nepal particularly Maoists have criticized India for meddling with Nepal’s internal affairs. In order to allay such fears, Modi stressed that Nepal is a sovereign country and is free to make its own choices and India can only offer support when sought. India also assured of increasing scholarships to Nepali students and doubling the electricity India exports to Nepal to tide over its power crisis.  
In the latest summit level talks between India and Nepal, three agreements were inked –
  1. India will provide grant assistance worth NRs 69 million to supply iodated salt to curb goitre and other disease s related with iodine deficiency.
  2. Amendment of Articles 17 and 18 of the Pancheswor Multiple Project.
  3. Cooperation between Nepal Television and Doordarshan.
Apart from this, this visit is also likely to help in speeding up the negotiations on power trading as Nepal has a huge potential for hydroelectric project. Thus Nepal is not just strategically important for India but it can also help in addressing many other developmental issued in India like energy. Moreover, Nepal can also help in addressing the recurring floods in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Thus Nepal is not an insignificant landlocked state dependent on India, on the contrary, in many ways India is dependent on it, most importantly for securing the county’s northern border. Indeed, by opening the summit level talks with the mountain nation, Indian establishment has ushered a new chapter in bilateral relations which will help in development of both the countries.
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