New Delhi, April 7: Even as India looked on in anticipation at Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli’s maiden visit, the latter chose to talk relationship rather than business on Saturday. At the Rashtrapati Bhawan where Oli met President Ramnath Kovind, the visiting Prime Minister said, “Friendship is most important and there is no comparison with friendship. Any treaty, any agreement, everything starts from friendship. With our neighbours, particularly from India, we first expect friendship.” Oli was given a ceremonial reception at Kovind’s official residence.

Oli had arrived in the national capital on Friday afternoon and was received by Home Minister Rajnath Singh. During his three-day trip, the two countries are likely to take up pacts related to agriculture, research & development, education & training, and expansion of rail up to Kathmandu, reported IANS.

Prior to Oli’s visit, India had made its stance clear that Nepal may give as many dam projects to China as the country wished but India wouldn’t be in a position to buy the energy produced.

Meanwhile, speaking to ANI on Friday, Oli had made his country’s stand, vis-a-vis both India and China, clear. He said, “We have two neighbours. They (India and China) are more developed and advanced than us. They (India and China) are also bigger than us, both in terms of size and population. We are geographically located in the centre. We will work with the neighbours for ensuring development and stability.” On being asked about why he had chosen India over China for his maiden foreign visit after assuming the post in February, Oli added, “India invited me and so I visited India.”

Prime Minister Oli’s visit is being seen as a step forward in the ties between India and its neighbour. In an interview to The Times of India, Oli had expressed concern over how Nepal’s trade deficit with India was growing. The visit might help the two nations address the issue.