Modi has tightly packed itinerary in Kathmandu
Posted on Aug 01 2014 | IANS
By Anil Giri, Kathmandu, Aug 1 : An address to Nepal's parliament -- the first by a foreign head of state after the restoration of parliamentary democracy in the Himalayan nation in 1990, and special prayers at the famed Pashupatinath temple are some highlights of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's tightly packed itinerary on his two-day visit to Nepal beginning Sunday.
Modi's visit, at the invitation of Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, will also see him engage in a high-level dialogue that is expected to boost cooperation in hydropower and infrastructure sectors between the two close neighbours.
The visit, first by an Indian prime minister after a gap of 17 years and being described here as a cornerstone of future bilateral ties, will also give both countries an opportunity to work together for the betterment of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).
"We will move confidently in the international arena hand-in-hand," said Nepal's Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pande formally announcing Modi's visit here Friday.
According to the foreign minister, the Indian prime minister will arrive on a special chartered flight at 10.50 a.m. Sunday. His Nepali host Koirala, Pandey, Nepal's ministers and the Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae will be present at Tribhuvan International Airport here to welcome him.
Modi will be presented a guard of honour and a 19-gun salute.
The visiting dignitary will then proceed to Hotel Hyatt where Minister Pandey will brief him on the preparations of the visit from the Nepali side in a luncheon meeting.
Then the Indian prime minister will leave for Singhadurbar, seat of the Nepal government and housing the various ministries, where he will have a one-on-one meeting with Koirala followed by delegation-level talks.
The two prime ministers will then witness a signing ceremony where several bilateral agreements will be initialled.
After the signing ceremony, Modi will head for Nepal's parliament to address it. Before addressing Constituent Assembly, he will briefly meet Parliament Chairman Subhas Chandra Nembang.
Modi's address to the Nepal parliament is scheduled to last 35 minutes. Modi will thus be the first head of the state to speak in Nepal's parliament after the restoration of multi-party parliamentary democracy in 1990.
After the address, Modi will attend a reception hosted by the Indian ambassador at Hotel Hyatt. After the reception, he will attend a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
The menu at both the events is mostly vegetarian, diplomatic sources said, adding that some special Gujarati items will also be served.
The next day, Modi will visit the famed Pashupatinath temple here to offer prayers to Lord Shiva on a Monday of the holy month of Shrawan. Arriving at the temple at 9.30 a.m., the Indian prime minister will spend 45 minutes at the temple complex.
He will leave then for the President's Office where he will meet President Ram Baran Yadav followed by lunch hosted by the president in honour of the visiting Indian dignitaries.
After completing the programme at the President's Office, Modi will return to his hotel where top leaders of Nepal's major political parties will call on him.
K.P. Sharma Oli, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), will first meet the Indian head of government. He will be followed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, chairman of the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) and Madhesi leaders.
A group of Nepali business leaders will also call on Modi.
After wrapping up the meetings, Modi will leave for New Delhi Monday evening.
There will be over 70 members in Modi's delegation, including officials, his security personnel and media representatives.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)