Just about a month from Nepalese Prime Minister K P Oli’s trip to India, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day-long reciprocal visit to Nepal on May 11 and 12 in a bid to muster the trust on bilateral ties and signify the intensity of political engagement at the highest level.

Indian PM Narendra Modi is currently in Nepal, paying a two-day-long return state visit, barely a month after the Nepalese PM made a maiden trip to one of its most important neighbours – India. This return trip from the Indian leader signifies the importance of political and bilateral alliance between the two nations, especially after a rift during the Doklam standoff between India and China. The trip is certainly aimed to reconcile the relationship between India and Nepal that is ages old and multifaceted as both nations share a wide spectrum of socio-cultural commonalities and geopolitical realities. It is certain that no two sovereign and independent nations interact every day in such a comprehensive way as India and Nepal do – at diplomatic as well as people-to-people level; hence the trip will sought out the misunderstandings to stand together again.

Post the Doklam incident, there seemed to be a need to protect the precious state of relations between Nepal and India and avoid the mistakes made in past, and instead bridge the gaps for mutual goodwill, respect, cordiality, harmony and understanding. With that in mind, Modi posted a tweet prior to the trip saying that the “visit reflects the high priority India attaches to friendly relations with Nepal”. Modi assured that India would remain a steadfast partner of Nepal in its quest for growth and development as the relations have never been rancorous even at the worst of times.

Giving a kickstart to his tour with civic receptions on Friday, as Modi offered prayers at the Ram Janaki temple located at Nepal’s Janakpur and Muktinath. Later, the two leaders also laid the foundation stone of the Arun III hydropower project in Nepal, testifying India’s stand for Nepal’s development. Nepalese officials expressed India’s gesture saying that this visit would consolidate the principle of neighbourhood first and Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. This shows that Nepal can never ever go against India and that India’s legitimate interests and sensitivities are well-recognised by Nepal.

Seen as an attempt by both the sides to re-instate normalcy in ties between the two countries, this trip should lay groundwork for trust to construct a lasting edifice of India-Nepal relations. It won’t be wrong calling this situation spade a spade in the relations, which are of utmost importance in nature because nothing in the world is tougher than speaking the truth, and nothing easier than flattery. Having exhausted the easier outlets, both leaders have just one way out – to manifest trust and avoid double standards by one-to-one meet-ups. However, the question is, will these leaders display the courage of speaking truth and start real work on difficult aspects, or not.

2578