Clear path

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, brimming with satisfaction on his return from India, said to the media people at the Tribhuvan International Airport on Saturday, that his five-day goodwill visit to India had been “highly successfully”. For a prime minister of a coalition government to have accomplished the measure of success in his deals with the Government of India at this juncture must be appreciated. It is also a reflection of the degree of honour and respect that PM Nepal received during his sojourn in India. It had to be a win-win situation for Mr. Nepal, all because of the fact that the matter of the trade and transit treaty hung in the air. For the Government of Nepal, in particular, and the CPN (UML), that leads the government, the visit ended on a high note. Though the trade treaty was somehow cobbled together and inked at the last minute by the commerce secretaries of Nepal and India, together with the agreement to control unauthorized trade, it has marked the start with further follow up in the right direction for mutual benefit in the days to come. Nepal must be pleased that no other treaty worth the name came up which otherwise would have raised hue and cry back at home. This is all the more the case because former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had not been able to accomplish the very thing when he had visited India earlier in the same capacity.

The provisions in the trade treaty, that will be formalized later by the ministers of the two countries concerned, will, according to Minister for Commerce and Supplies Rajendra Mahato, “help enhance Nepal’s international trade”. How far the comments will stand justification will be watched, as better outcome also depends on the implementing parties. The goodwill shown by India towards the concerns of Nepal and vice versa is but one façade of the deep friendship that represents the relations between the two countries, despite the minor issues that crop up as usual between those sharing the frontiers. In this regard, India has been overwhelmingly supportive, during the visit of PM Nepal, for peace to be re-entrenched in Nepal and for the economy to pick up pace. Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh also made it clear that further strengthening and enhancing cooperation between the two countries would be a priority. Herein, it is also worth mentioning that the Rs. 32 billion aid package that India has pledged is a fine gesture in the direction.

Sharing borders brings with itself a few problems which has received attention in the Agreement of Cooperation to Control Unauthorised Trade and is also a step forward. However, on the Pancheswore issue, a sense of urgency seems to have prevailed with India agreeing to make the initial moves at the earliest. Looking at the visit as a whole only a little space remains for not feeling satisfied. The gains have been much more than what had been expected despite the detractors calling otherwise. The visit has added another chapter in the exchange of visits at the highest level to sort out differences, if any, and to chart new avenues for mutual cooperation which mostly hinges on the economic front. The visit of PM Nepal to India has to be termed a “goodwill visit” by all standards.

Cold scare

Fear of swine flu appears to have many terribly worried. Even patients with common cold are seen running to Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Diseases Hospital at Teku to have tests carried out to confirm that it is not swine flu but merely a seasonal one. That the tests are carried out for free to diagnose the disease at the hospital must have prompted them to have the tests. The authorities, for their part, are doing their best to assuage the people and that, so far, there is no major threat of the disease. So the hospital is carrying out tests only on those who have a history of travelling abroad and those who have come into contact with the flu.

Since the symptoms of the flu often resemble that of other common diseases it could be wise to rule out the possibility of having contracted the disease. Doctors know best, so it would be wise to seek expert help in case they contract common cold and fever and the like and seek tests only when the fear of swine flu is genuine. But the facilities for health services being what they are, what is needed are health personnel trained to talk to traumatized patients falsely believing that they have swine flu.