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Modi to visit Nepal next week unlikely to agree to SAARC Summit in Pakistan

World Desk : Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to once again turn down any proposal aimed at scheduling the SAARC Summit in Islamabad this year if the issue comes up in his meetings with his Nepali counterpart KP Sharma Oli during the Indian leader’s visit to the Himalayan nation on 11-12 May, reports The Statesman.

“There is no change in the situation as far as terrorism in the region is concerned. Pakistan continues to aid and abet terrorism against its neighbours…it’s difficult to go ahead with initiatives like SAARC in the current environment,” a source here said.

Oli, who had visited India early last month and held fruitful exchanges with Modi, had recently again appealed to all regional countries to give their consent to Islamabad for staging the next SAARC Summit.

This came after Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s visit to Kathmandu during which he expressed his country’s keenness to host the summit of the eight-nation grouping, which was originally scheduled to be held in November 2016.

India had then refused to attend the summit to isolate Pakistan in the wake of the Uri terror attack.

Subsequently, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka too expressed their inability to attend the summit, leading to its postponement.

The security of Indian installations in Nepal is expected to come under close scrutiny during PM Modi’s visit in the wake of last week’s attack on an India-supported hydro-power project. Earlier on 18 April, unidentified people had carried out a blast at the Indian Embassy camp office in Biratnagar damaging the wall-fencing.

It is to be seen if Modi’s recent visit to Wuhan for an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping will also come up during the Indian PM’s talks with the Nepalese leadership in the backdrop of a recent statement by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, inviting India to be a part of new development projects in the Himalayan country.

The source said Modi’s visit to Nepal would help maintain the momentum in bilateral ties. India and Nepal recently agreed to take steps such as comprehensive review of the existing bilateral trade treaty to further boost two-way commerce and investments between the countries.

The agreement came during the meeting of the India-Nepal Inter-Government Committee (IGC) on Trade, Transit and Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade held in Kathmandu.

This will be Modi’s third visit to Nepal since he assumed office in May 2014. He had visited Nepal in August 2014 soon after assuming the high office when he addressed the Constituent Assembly. He again visited the Himalayan nation in November 2014 to attend the SAARC Summit. During the visit, the PM is scheduled to attend a civic reception in Janakpur, the birthplace of Sita — the wife of Lord Rama.

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