SMRITI KAK RAMACHANDRAN (THE HINDU, 12 June) – India will send a high-level ministerial delegation to the Donors’ Conference in Kathmandu on June 25, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Nepalese counterpart, Sushil Koirala, on the phone on Thursday.
Mr. Modi’s participation in the meet, aimed at raising funds for rebuilding the earthquake-hit mountain kingdom, is, however, not confirmed. Thanking Mr. Koirala for the invitation, conveyed by Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Chandra Mahat, Modi conveyed that he would participate, if his schedule permitted.
Nepal had earlier turned down offers from several countries, including India, to host the conference.
It has already set up a $2-billion fund for reconstruction and rebuilding, with preliminary estimates indicating that the costs could be five times higher.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office said Mr. Modi assured Mr. Koirala of India’s “unwavering and sustained” support to Nepal in its rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts, guided by the preference and priorities of the government in Kathmandu.
Mr. Modi said India would respect and be with Nepal in all its decisions regarding rehabilitation works.
Mr. Modi’s reaffirmation that India has always been guided by humanitarian concerns in a spirit of equality and friendship assumes significance some sections in Nepal had criticised India’s role during the relief operations.
The two Prime Ministers discussed the recent political developments, including drafting of the Constitution in Nepal.
Earlier on Wednesday night, Nepal’s Finance Minister Ram Chandra Mahat met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who assured him of India’s financial and technical support to help rebuild infrastructure.