Nepal: Prime Minister hopeful following visit to India; Government expresses doubt

Following his four day visit beginning October 20 to India, Nepali Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai was confident in its results. “An atmosphere of trust between the two neighbors is the most important thing and I feel that my goodwill visit was greatly successful in this regard,” stated Bhattarai.

One of his stated goals for the visit was “erasing misunderstandings” about India’s support of Nepal. The support package, offering $1 billion through the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), was ultimately signed by Bhattarai.

The agreement is aimed at boosting infrastructure in Nepal as well as its export economy and decreasing the trade deficit between the neighbor nations. Bhattarai aims to make Nepal more “investor friendly.”

However, according to the Nepal Intellectual Forum, Bhattarai’s visit was not as effective as he has expressed. The Forum’s general secretary Prof Surendra KC revealed his disappointment with Bhattarai for signing the BIPPA proposal

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the head of PM Bhattarai’s party also demonstrated his distaste with BIPPA, and radical factions of the party have called it “anti-national.”

Bhattarai asserted that he had the interest of the betterment of Nepal as his main motive in signing the agreement.

While some Nepali politicians are against accepting aid from India due to the notion that it will give India more power and presence in Nepali politics, some welcomed the package. For some it probably will result in a pay raise, if proper measures are not taken to ensure its proper use.

Corruption and the embezzlement of state resources including aid has been a major issue in Nepal’s new government following the conclusion of the war in 2008 between Maoists and the former monarchy.

Sources: The Rising Nepal (Gorkhapatra ), Republicá; The Kathmandu Post, Oct. 23; Republicá, Oct. 26, 2011.

Categories: Human Rights, India, NepalTags: , , , ,

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