Modi mantra warms Nepali hearts

  • - Hails Maoist embrace for ballot - Acknowledges Buddha was born in Nepal
- Pranab Kharel, Kathmandu
Modi mantra warms Nepali hearts

Aug 3, 2014-

In a first address by a foreign head of state/government to Nepal’s Parliament after 1990, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won millions of Nepali hearts on Sunday afternoon with his 45-minute speech that he began in Nepali and continued in Hindi later.

The speech which could be described as level-headed and delivered with compassion seemed very mindful of the Nepali sensitivities, which was visible not only at the cultural front but also at the political level. He responded to the big question whether India would remain neutral on political changes in Nepal with commitment to the new federal democratic republican order.

“India respects the federal democratic republic as envisioned by Nepal,” he told a packed House of lawmakers and onlookers. Praising the Nepali effort, Modi said the constitution writing process of Nepal could set an example for the rest of the world of a peaceful resolution of a violent conflict. “I congratulate you on choosing ballot over bullet,” said Modi, in an apparent reference to the Maoists who abandoned their violent politics to join the political mainstream in 2006. Modi, who is the first head of state/government to address Nepal’s parliament post-1990, urged lawmakers to use their Rishi-man (sage mind) to ensure that the statute being drafted envisions a Nepal of the next 100 years in addition to its being an inclusive document able to connect all parts of the society.

Dressed in yellow kurta and white pyjama topped by a blue waist-coat, the Indian prime minister began his parliamentary address at 4:40 pm.

Modi also tried to address the trust deficit between the two countries on hydropower cooperation when he categorically stated that the stalled Pancheswor Multipurpose Project would move forward within a year. He stressed development, and possibilities on the economic frontier, suggesting that Nepal could make it in the league of developed countries by utilising its hydropower potential.

Modi vision for Nepal

In a substantive India policy for Nepal, Modi suggested a “HIT” formula for Nepal, saying India wants to help Nepal build highways, information highways and transways-transmission lines.

Modi explained further that development in Nepal would also be beneficial for bordering areas in India. He highlighted the importance of tourism, particularly from the religious point of view, that thousands of Hindu and Buddhist pilgrims could visit Nepal. “There are 125 crore people in your neighbourhood who would visit here at some point,” he said.

Nepali lawmakers gave a thunderous applause when he mentioned that Buddha was born in Nepal--an issue that rouses deep passion in the country when various quarters of India claim that the former was born in India. He uttered the word Buddha five times.

He acknowledged the contribution of Gorkha soldiers in the evolution of the Indian state. “There is no war that India has won without Gorkhas’ sacrifice.”

Nepali stakeholders have reacted with enthusiasm to the address.

Published: 04-08-2014 09:09

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