The Indian Prime Minister signed six agreements with his Nepali counterpart on his fifth visit to the neighboring country under the shadow of China’s growing influence in the region.
Narendra Modi held bilateral talks on Monday with Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. The deals include the Arun-IV hydropower project in eastern Nepal.
The two countries are already jointly building another dam in the region.
The development comes amid increasing Chinese interest in Nepal’s hydropower and other infrastructure projects. However, Nepal has conveyed to China that it is not keen on projects built under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Modi visited the sacred city of Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, where China has built two monasteries and India has announced plans to build one.
Modi avoided Lumbini’s new airport, inaugurated on Monday morning. Nepal’s second international airport was built by a Chinese company, so Modi’s move was seen as deliberate.
The Indian leader’s visit comes less than two months after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi landed in Kathmandu, in a bid to push some projects under the initiative.