Indian Prime Minsiter Narendra Modi (centrer left) is accompanied by Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala during the welcoming ceremony at Tribhuwan International Airport in Kathmandu, Nepal, Aug. 3, 2014. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here Sunday for a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koiral. (Xinhua/Sunil Sharma)
KATHMANDU, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here Sunday for a two-day official visit at the invitation of his Nepalese counterpart Sushil Koiral.
Aimed at strengthening the two South Asian countries' relations at the highest political level, Modi's visit was the first by an Indian premier for bilateral talks since Inder Kumar Gujral visited Nepal as Indian prime minister in 1997.
According to Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koiral's press coordinator Praksah Adhikari, nine prime ministerial level visits were made to India from Nepal during the past 17 years. It was also reported that Nepal's heads of state have visited India six times since 1979.
After being installed as the 15th prime minister of India in May, Modi had only visited two countries. His maiden foreign tour is in Bhutan in June 2014, and about one month later, he visited Brazil to participate in the BRICS summit.
"I hope my visit will open a new chapter in India-Nepal relations, characterized by more frequent political engagement and closer cooperation across the full spectrum of our extraordinarily broad-based relations, which will serve as a model and catalyst for South Asian partnership for prosperity," said Modi in India before his two-day sojourn here.
Encouraged by a recent three-day visit to Nepal by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who showed goodwill by saying that Nepal is a sovereign country with all rights to make its own decision independently, Sushil Koiral urged all political parties on July 31 to take the Indian prime minister's visit as the last opportunity to save the country from disaster.
During Sushma Swaraj's stay from July 25 to July 27, Nepal and India held the third meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission after a long gap of 23 years. Both sides agreed to review all the treaties and agreements between the two neighbors, including the controversial 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship.
Kathmandu sees Modi's visit as a rare chance and a turning point to reorient Nepal-India relations, seeking equal and just treatment on matters concerning both nations.
At the same time, New Delhi hopes, by building common stand on major international issues, to get the support from Nepal, in a number of areas including its candidacy for permanent membership in the UN Security Council as well as its energy supply.
During his two-day visit, Modi will discuss with Nepal on cooperation in the fields of water resources, trade and investment, and the development of Nepal's infrastructure.
Other highlights of Modi's visit include an address to Nepal's parliament, which will be the first ever by a foreign prime minister after the restoration of parliamentary democracy in Nepal in 1990, and special prayers at the famous Pashupatinath temple on Monday Morning.
Before leaving for India on the evening of Aug. 4, the Indian prime minister will deliver a speech for Nepali business community at the hotel where the 75-member delegation lodge in.