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Indian leader warms ties during Nepal visit

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 4, 2014 at 9:26 am •  Published: August 4, 2014
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KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wooed his country's tiny Himalayan neighbor, Nepal, during a two-day visit aimed at boosting ties with a country that India has long ignored and where China already has a strong presence.

In the first visit by an Indian prime minister in 17 years, Modi addressed parliament, speaking briefly in the Nepali language, and stopped to meet delighted crowds. He offered $1 billion in low-interest development loans and visited a revered Hindu shrine.

While China has built power plants, highways, an airport and telecommunication facilities and given airplanes to Nepal, India has made promises in the past but has not always delivered.

Analysts said the visit, which ended Monday, hit many of the right notes.

"This was the most successful trip by any Indian leader to Nepal," said Dhurba Hari Adhikary, an independent analyst.

"There has been a big gap of 17 years, so people here in Nepal felt they were not being considered a good friend for quite a while," Adhikary said. "This gap has been breached."

Thousands of people lined the road to cheer as Modi's motorcade passed. At one point, he stopped his armored car to get out and shake hands with the onlookers. The footage, recorded by people on their cellphones, was quickly posted on social media sites.

Modi met with the prime minister, the president and other leaders, and visited Pasupatinath, a temple for the Hindu God Shiva.

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