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Outcome of PM Narendra Modi's Nepal visit: A blow to China and Pakistan!
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal was a very special one as he was the first PM to visit Nepal after 17 years. The last bilateral visit by an Indian PM to Nepal was by late IK Gujral in June 1997. PM Modi was also the first foreign leader to address the Nepalese Constituent Assembly-cum-Parliament.

Relations between India and Nepal have traditionally been close since ancient times as a result of geographical location and common religious, linguistic and cultural identities that overlap the two countries. The 1950 Indo-Nepal Treaty of Peace and Friendship, gave birth to a special relationship between India and Nepal.

But in recent times the Nepal's relations with India soured, and China took advantage of it and tried to influence Nepal. China focused on investment, cultural exchange and heightened contact with Nepal at all political levels. And all this was making India somehow uncomfortable.

However, after this short but very significant visit by PM Modi, India is now hoping to use it to rejuvenate the cultural and religious ties between the two countries and to ease the fear factor among politicians in Nepal, particularly the Maoists, who accuse India of meddling in Nepalese politics.

How this visit by the Indian PM is going to help both the countries in future? Will this visit be able to sort out India's concern over China's growing influence in Nepal. Had Pakistan been also keeping its eyes on Modi's Nepal visit?

Parikshit Singh Manhas, an Indian defence expert feels that this visit is going to be significant, not just for Indo-Nepal relations but for whole of the strategic outlook within the Indian sub-continent, especially within the SAARC nations and our relationship with China.

Manhas further explained the importance of the visit in these words, "Nepal had been our close ally earlier, but now we are not very comfortable with them. Now when we have again approached them, what I feel is that the whole dynamics within the region will change and obviously we will have lot of collaborations, economic as well as strategic collaborations with them, which might impact the relationships which different countries have within this Indian Sub-continent region."

He added, "This is a very important visit for us, as China was already eying Nepal and is trying to build up close relationship (with Nepal) , all the countries within the same sub-continent were already eying them. But now China will again reconsider how it approaches Nepal, but the very fact that the Prime Minister Modi has made this visit will strengthen our relationship with Nepal. I think India would be able to do very good things if it can get hold of Nepal."

General Ashok Mehta, a retired Major General in the Indian Army and an expert on Nepal issues says that the central theme of Modi's visit was India's security concern and China.

He says, "Overall it has reset the image of India and has reset Indo-Nepal relations by an Indian Prime Minister visiting Nepal because Nepal has always complained that we are taking Nepal for granted. So, that perception of India taking Nepal for granted, is now corrected by this visit."

Would there be anything that could make Pakistan uncomfortable after this important Nepal visit by the Indian PM?

G Parthasarathy, a former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan says, "Yes, what would make them uncomfortable is an agreement (between India and Nepal) to co-operate more closely to deal with terrorism."

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