Thapa confirms Oli's first foreign visit will be to India

KATHMANDU: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa on Wednesday confirmed that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's first formal foreign visit would be to India.

"Preliminary preparations for the Prime Minister's visits to both India and China have started," Thapa said at the Reporters' Club today, "Based on the preparations so far, I can say that his foreign trip begins from India."

The Foreign Minister, however, maintained that the Prime Minister's visit to any friendly nation should not be viewed from the traditional view point as a preference to someone over the other.

Thapa did not mention any specific date though.

He informed that Oli would discuss some continuous and some new issues with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during the visit.

Thapa expressed his hope that the visit would completely end the stalemate seen in the Nepal-India relationship.

'China visit made a policy departure'

The Deputy Prime Minister, on the occasion, claimed that his China visit last week made a policy departure in the relationship between two nations.

The visit made significant initiatives toward forwarding the inter-country trade relationship in a new way, he claimed.

"So far, we do not have any trade treaty with China. We were India-locked more than land-locked," he explained that his visit had prepared a framework to break that gap, adding, "We had been forgetting that China is also connected to sea and we have transit rights over there also."

Thapa informed that Nepal has already submitted a draft of a trade treaty to China.

"If we can continue this initiative," the Minister hoped, "The next generation would not face an economic blockade again."

"This imitative is for a wider national interest and not as an alternative to trade with India," he maintained, "We give importance to both neighbours. Both have specific characteristics."