Nepal cautious vis-a-vis Modi: Daily

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Kathmandu, May 11 (IANS) A leading Nepali newspaper on Friday said that Nepalis will greet visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with cautious optimism unlike in 2014 when they gave him a standing ovation.

And Modi was perhaps aware that his current two-day visit to Nepal that began on Friday was “tempered with deep scepticism”, The Kathmandu Post said in an editorial.

Younger Nepalis, who in 2014 had welcomed Modi, have found various platforms to express their displeasure with the Indian leader, it said. The hashtag #BlockadeWasCrimeMrModi continue to trend among Twitter users in Nepal.

In September 2015, Nepal came out with its much delayed Constitution. “An unhappy India imposed a border blockade for five months because it felt slighted that it was not ‘consulted’ by Nepal’s three major parties,” the Post said.

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The blockade was a foreign policy blunder by New Delhi, it said.

“Nepali people lauded their defiant political leadership for standing up to India and they didn’t rise up against their leadership as Delhi had perhaps expected.”

Following the blockade and the subsequent April 2015 earthquake, then Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli signed 10 framework agreements with China to diversify Nepal’s trade and transit.

“The long term objective to cut down the historical dependence on India was widely applauded by the Nepali public.

“Nepal and India both need to understand that bilateral relationship cannot be sustained by histrionics alone; each of the two countries need to feel valued, respected, trusted and heard,” the editorial said.

“There will be differences where both will need to understand that there is a strategic red line,” it added.

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