Efforts on to ensure Indian president’s visit before China's

Nepal wants to host Mukherjee as the chief guest on the first anniversary of promulgation of constitution

Kathmandu, August 12

Nepali and Indian authorities are trying to arrange a state visit of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal as early as in September before the prospective visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Top officials and diplomatic sources said the Nepali side wanted to host the Head of State of India as the chief guest in a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the promulgation of constitution, which falls on September 19.

With Mukherjee’s visit, the Indian side also wants to give a clear message that it has been working with Nepal despite some ups-and-downs in bilateral relations for one year.

A source, however, added that the Indian side might not want President Mukherjee to attend the anniversary of promulgation of the constitution, as New Delhi has maintained ‘reservation’ on some provisions of Nepal’s new charter.

“If the constitution is amended before the anniversary, a visit date in and around the anniversary of constitution promulgation could be fixed,” a top source told The Himalayan Times seeking anonymity.

Yesterday, the government decided to send deputy prime ministers Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Bahadur Mahara to neighbouring India and China, respectively, as special envoys of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Nidhi said the purpose of his visit to India was to invite Indian President Pranab Mukherjee to visit Nepal and prepare grounds for India visit by PM Dahal, who received an invitation from his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on the day he was elected prime minister.

The purpose of DPM Mahara’s visit to China would be to prepare grounds for Chinese President’s visit to Nepal.

Officially, the Chinese side is yet to fix a date for President Xi’s prospective visit to Nepal. Officials, however, have hinted that President Xi could stop over in Nepal on a brief visit in mid-October, when he is scheduled to attend a BRICS Summit in Goa, on October 15 and 16.

Talking to The Himalayan Times earlier this week, Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae had said high-level bilateral visits between Nepal and India could happen shortly as bilateral exchanges could not be put on hold for too long.

Meanwhile, Ambassador Rae has gone to New Delhi, apparently to discuss Nidhi’s visit agenda.