India will not be using the Nepal-offered cars either for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will likely reach Nepal a day before the November 26-27 summit to visit Janakpuri, Lumbini and Muktinath, officials confirmed.
Instead, India too will bring its own posse of armoured BMW cars for the summit that will present Modi his second chance to visit Nepal in three months.
“That’s our practice — wherever possible, we take our own cars, and in the case where that’s not possible, our missions arrange for the armoured BMW for the PM,” an official said. “We don’t depend on our hosts for cars for the PM.”
Though Islamabad’s decision to turn down the offer to use a car supplied by India to Nepal has triggered murmurs about a possible snub to New Delhi, an official at the Pakistan high commission said the country was merely following its regular protocol.
“Like India, we too try to avoid using a host’s car for our PM, especially in the neighbourhood,” the diplomat said.
Nepal had in September requested India for six armoured BMW cars for the heads of government visiting during the Saarc summit and another 32 non-armoured BMW and Mercedes Benz vehicles for other visiting dignitaries.
After negotiations late in October, the two nations struck a deal — Nepal would pay for the 32 non-armoured vehicles but would receive the six armoured ones for free — officials said.
India had already indicated that it would bring its own vehicles for Modi, and Nepal already has one armoured BMW car for its Prime Minister Sushil Koirala.
The six armoured BMW cars were meant for the remaining six Saarc heads of government — Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka, Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan, Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan, Abdulla Yameen of the Maldives, Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh and Sharif.
With Sharif opting for his own vehicle, Nepal has one armoured BMW car extra.