New Delhi: On his first foreign trip since he took office earlier this year, Nepalese Prime Minister KP Oli made a strong pitch for investment from India on Saturday, calling the Himalayan country “a safe and stable destination for investment”. “Nepal will need massive investment; many of its sectors are virgin territory for investment. I invite Indian companies to come and invest in Nepal… (that) is now safe for foreign investment,” Mr Oli was quoted saying by news agency IANS.
The government’s majority allowed for “stability and continuity in policy… towards a liberal economy and liberal economic policies,” he added.
During formal talks with Indian delegations today, including those led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Oli is likely to discuss possible deals in waterways and an expansion of an India-backed railway to Kathmandu. He will also be discussing the trade deficit with India and push for India to complete previously promised infrastructure projects, many of which have limped along for decades.
PM Modi met his Nepalese counterpart yesterday at his official residence.
According to Nepalese media, Mr Oli will take up various issues with PM Modi including the early execution of India-funded projects in Nepal, implementation of the Mahakali water-sharing treaty, and construction of integrated check-posts.
The trip is also seen as important for India as it tries to win back the strategically-important neighbour that has moved closer to China. Mr Oli held India responsible for his ouster in 2016 and the Madheshi unrest which was followed by an economic blockade by India that crippled Nepal for months.
Since then there has been intense efforts to salvage the ties. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Nepal before Mr Oli took office to congratulate him for the historic victory. Later, PM Modi extended an invitation to him for a visit to India while congratulating Mr Oli over phone on his win.This morning he was accorded an elaborate ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
President Ramnath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after PM Oil’s ceremonial reception today.
In his address, President Ram Nath Kovind said, “It’s India’s abiding interest in the stability and economic prosperity of Nepal. India stands ready to expand cooperation with Nepal as per Nepal’s priorities. No other countries in the world have the bonds of friendship and cooperation that exist between India and Nepal. Regular exchanges of visits at the highest political level demonstrate the priority that we attach to our special partnership.”
Yesterday Mr Oli, who is in India with his wife Radika Shakya and several key ministers, had an informal meeting with PM Modi at his residence. Mr Oli also met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.