Narendra Modi waves after offering prayers at the Pashupatinath Hindu Temple in Katmandu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Nepal is significant for more reasons than one.
Besides the bilateral-cum-strategic diplomacy at play, it also marks a significant shift in the way the Indian leadership pursues its foreign policy.
Since Independence till the UPAII was in power, the country's foreign policy would swing on two extreme poles - it would either be obsessively big power-centric (Soviet Union, America, et al), or turn too regional to look no further than Pakistan. (In the last decade or so, China too has started getting some attention.)
This explains why it took an Indian prime minster 17 years to reach out to Kathmandu.
Better late than never. Modi has made the right moves in Nepal, a country that is increasingly seen to be getting into the Chinese ambit at the expense of India.
More so because of the growing perception in Nepal that India promises, while China delivers.
To top it all, there is a belief - not entirely unfounded - that India often acts in an abrasive, big brotherly manner.
However, the kind of reception Modi has got in Kathmandu, it's all but evident that Nepal has been the case of India's mishandling rather than Chinese diplomatic astuteness.
Modi, to his credit, has done well when he, while announcing a $1 billion line of credit to Kathmandu, reiterated that by helping Nepal, India was not extending any charity but only performing its duty as a bigger power.
Also, he could allay fears within some quarters in Nepal about the BJP's alleged proximity towards the royal family, when he supported the process of democratisation in the Himalayan nation.
Modi's Nepal visit also proves that his Bhutan trip wasn't a fluke. In a few months, he will be visiting Myanmar.
Touching base with these three countries is Modi's way of telling our neighbours that these countries come first and foremost in India's foreign policy arena.
Also, it's a message to China that its foray in India's neighbourhood won't go unchallenged anymore.