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Breaking protocol, Nepal PM to personally receive Modi

Kathmandu, July 29 Breaking protocol, Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala will personally receive his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi when he lands in Kathmandu Aug 3 on a two-day visit.

A special welcome ceremony will be organised at the Tribhuvan International Airport. There will be a guard of honour for Modi, who will be accompanied by a 101-member delegation including seven ministers, senior government officials and captains of industry besides journalists.

Dinesh Bhattarai, advisor to Koirala on foreign relations, told IANS that the prime minister himself would welcome Modi.

“This reflects the importance Nepal is attaching to Modi’s visit,” he said.

Modi’s trip is widely seen here as a major diplomatic event, as the Himalayan nation will be receiving an Indian prime minister on a bilateral visit after 17 years.

In 2006, Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh had received his Nepali counterpart, Girija Prasad Koirala, at the New Delhi airport.

Modi will arrive Sunday morning on a chartered flight, accompanied by officials of the Prime Minister’s Office, seven ministers, around a dozen journalists and a number of businessmen.

At Hyatt hotel, he will be briefed on his itinerary, including meetings and bilateral talks, by senior Indian government officials.

According to the tentative itinerary, Modi will attend a luncheon organised by the Indian embassy where political leaders will be invited unofficially.

He will speak in parliament later, becoming the first head of government to address lawmakers of Nepal after the restoration of democracy in 1990. According to a source, Modi may speak in Hindi.

On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Koirala will host a state banquet for his Indian counterpart and other visiting delegates.

On Monday, Modi will offer prayers at Pashupatinath temple and hold bilateral talks with Koirala.

Before returning to New Delhi the same evening, several agreements are expected to be signed. President Ram Baran Yadav is likely to host a luncheon for the visiting dignitaries Monday.

In two other special planes, Modi’s three armoured vehicles, including his personal vehicle and security personnel, will be transported to Kathmandu.

Additional vehicles will come via land. The Indian prime minister will be given Z-plus security by a combination of all security agencies, including the Nepal Army.

Modi will meet President Yadav in his office while his meeting with Koirala will be held at the Prime Minister’s Office in Singha Durbar during which several agreements will be signed.

Other political meetings of Modi are being arranged at Hotel Hyatt.

The Nepal prime minister has been holding meetings on a daily basis with major political parties so that all agreements with India are based on national consensus.

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