New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj will embark on a two-day official visit to Nepal from Thursday, in an effort to reach out to Nepal’s political leadership ahead of the formation of a new government by a Communist alliance. This will be also Swaraj’s first visit to Nepal after the three-tier elections ended in December.
The External Affairs Minister will be accompanied by the new Foreign Secretary Vijay K. Gokhale and Sudhakar Dalela, Joint Secretary (North) of the EAM. The itinerary was finalised by Nepal’s Foreign Ministry and the Indian embassy in Kathmandu on Monday.
Swaraj will meet Nepali President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and current Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. She will also meet with CPL-UML chief Oli, Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Madhesi leaders.
During a recent event in Kathmandu, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri made it clear that New Delhi was ready to work and cooperate with the new government in Nepal.
The timing of the visit comes at a time when India wants to improve its relations with Oli and his party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) (CPN-UML).
Relations between the two sides are often described as “patchy”, where Oli criticised India’s constant hindrance over Nepal’s new constitution in 2015, which did not recognise the rights of the Madhesis.