Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a two-day visit to Nepal on May 11-12, 2018. The visit gains significance and generates interest considering the fact that the Nepali Prime Minister had visited India just a month before (April 6-8, 2018). Before proceeding with the details of the visit, a brief look at some of the past events would help in understanding the Indo-Nepal relations in its current context.
This was the third visit by Modi to Nepal since 2014 when he took power as Prime Minister of India following the 16th Lok Sabha elections. Keeping in line with his proclaimed “neighborhood first” policy, Modi’s very first foreign destination was Bhutan in June 2014. Two months later, Modi landed in Nepal in August 2014. It is worth mentioning here that Modi was the first Prime Minister to visit Nepal in 17 years. The last such official visit to Nepal was by Indian Prime Minister I. K. Gujral in June 1997. On the contrary, every Nepali Prime Minister on assuming power made sure that their first foreign destination was India. It was only during the Maoist government under Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2008 that this tradition was broken and he chose China as his first destination for a bilateral visit in an effort to reduce Nepal’s dependence on India. The move, of course, was not viewed favorably in India. Modi’s second visit was in connection with South Asian Association for regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit. These two visits certainly generated a lot of goodwill for Modi in Nepal.