Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi have had telephone conversation.

The two leaders talked Monday afternoon, according to PM Deuba’s secretariat, and Modi assured to soon supply COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal.

Indian vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India stopped supply of COVID-19 vaccines to Nepal despite taking advance as the southern neighbor imposed export ban after being hit hard by the second wave leaving over 1.3 million Nepalis over 65 years waiting for around four months for the second dose.

“I had cordial telephone conversation with Prime Minister @narendramodi this afternoon. We shared views on further strengthening bilateral ties. PM Modi assured early supply of Covid Vaccines to Nepal. I thanked him  for his warm words of congratulations,” Deuba tweeted Monday afternoon.

Modi, who has seen premiership change on five occasions in Nepal since he became Indian PM in May 2014, congratulated Deuba through Twitter after the latter passed the floor test Sunday night.

Modi had phoned all previous Nepali PMs including Deuba when he became PM before the alst general election on the day they were appointed or the day after at the latest to congratulate them, and invited them for India visit. But he waiter for six days before congratulating Deuba who was appointed PM on Tuesday apparently against Indian wishes to continue Oli at helm this time.

Many attributed the delay to the new-found chumminess between Modi and Oli.

India backed Oli right from the time he dissolved the House for the first time on December 25, 2020 and wanted Oli to continue until the next general election. India had advised Deuba to not try to topple the Oli government and later even put pressure on him after Nepali Congress (NC) tried to forge an opposition alliance against Oli.

Deuba was, therefore, reluctant to take initiative to form a new government and had confided with his lieutenants that India would create problems for him if he were to become PM.

Deuba agreed to lead the opposition alliance this time only after NC leaders put intense pressure on him pointing that India wants to continue Oli at helm for a long time and warned of the risks of an election not being held in time if the Supreme Court (SC) were to endorse House dissolution, an NC leader close to Deuba confided.

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