Nepal PM to Begin Visit to India

Posted October 19th, 2011 at 9:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Nepal's prime minister arrives in India Thursday for a visit aimed at increasing economic and political ties between the two South Asian nations.

During Baburam Bhattarai's visit to India, he is expected to meet with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Pratibha Patil, and members of the Indian business community.

In an editorial published Wednesday in The Hindu, Mr. Bhattarai said that as Nepal passes through a major political transition, India will play a crucial role.

He added that because two-thirds of Nepal's annual trade is with India, the two countries need to mutually benefit from economic cooperation. The Nepali leader said such cooperation includes the exploitation of water resources and drawing more Indian investment to Nepal.

India has been an influential player in landlocked Nepal for decades. Such influence has created simmering resentment in Nepal that became more pronounced after the Maoists came to power in 2008 following a decade-long civil war.

The country played a key role in the peace process ending the war in Nepal. But political infighting in Nepal has stalled progress in key areas, including drafting a new constitution.