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Narendra Modi smart to reset ties, but 1 billion gift to Nepal not enough: China

PTI 08 Aug 2014, 10:15:07 AM IST
Beijing: China's official media today described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as "smart" for his attempts to reset Indo-Nepal ties, but said his one billion dollar soft loan to the country was not enough to bring about a thaw in bilateral relationship.

"Modi is smart. His diplomatic efforts to widen and intensify India's ties with Nepal proved partly successful, especially his speech made in the Constitution Assembly/Parliament," China's state-run Xinhua news agency said in a commentary his recent visit to Nepal, the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years.

"By conveying his unwillingness to interfere in Nepal's internal affairs and his willingness to sort out all issues between both sides in a friendly way, Modi demonstrated a kind of future of India-Nepal ties towards equal footing," the commentary which is second in the last three days said.

Though China did not comment on Mr Modi's visit, the official media devoted considerable attention on his visit to Kathmandu where China widened its influence in the past ten years filling in the vacuum created by political differences between India and Nepal.

By lauding Nepal for choosing ballot over bullet and showing respect for Nepal as a federal, democratic Republic, Mr Modi showed his interest to unite all political parties to redefine traditional bilateral relations, the commentary said.

However, a billion-US dollar soft loan to be used to develop infrastructure and energy projects and aid to curb goiter in rural areas may not be enough to repair the ties.

Without inking two key agreements, the Power Trade Agreement (PTA) and the Power Development Agreement (PDA) with Nepal abundant water resources, Mr Modi ended his whirlwind trip and returned to India facing increasing power scarcity, it said.

"In the past two decades, India was apt to be absent to develop its ties with Nepal in a way that an arrogant old brother with deep pockets deals with a small and insignificant younger brother," it said.