World This Week: Nepal's Expectation from Modi
Hailing the clear mandate given by voters to our soon-to-be Prime Minister Narendra Modi and of the influence he will have on events happening in countries around the globe, the change of government in Delhi is a matter of interest to all countries due to the growing clout of India in international economic and political arenas.
Among many neighbouring countries, the only in the world with a Hindu majority is Nepal. And the Nepalis are watching unfolding of events in India particularly closely. Their culture and society is linked to India for a long time, particularly in the border regions of the Terai and the Far Western hill regions. It is said, in these regions, people move so freely from India to Nepal (and vice versa), as if there were no border separating two distinct countries.
Dr. Manmohan Singh did not visit Nepal in his ten years in power., which led many Nepali commentators to wonder if Nepal was low on the list of the Congress-led priorities. On the other hand, Bhekh Bahadur Thapa, former Ambassador to India, noted recently in The Kantipur Daily that Narendra Modi appeared to have a lot of respect for Nepal because of its religious and cultural values. But what, concretely, could Modi’s win mean for Nepal? He stated that ultimately it would be Nepalis who would have to figure that out.
Another prominent analyst, Nischal Nath Pandey said in an interview to The Kantipur Daily that Modi’s Nepal policy would be affected by crucial issues like, economic development and border security in India. He said that Modi will not be free to craft a Nepali policy in a vacuum, or one that only takes account of the BJP’s national agenda. And will equally have to take account of the prevailing mood in states that border Nepal and will have to address their concerns.
The views reflect that, the most prominent commentators in Nepal do not appear to believe that Modi will see Nepal through a so-called Hindu nationalistic lens. They believe he will be much more preoccupied with distributing
economic growth and prosperity in the country.