Efforts on to fix prez India visit in April

Kathmandu, March 6

Nepali and Indian officials are trying to fix President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s long due visit to the southern neighbour in April, as it was not possible in March due to assembly elections in five Indian states.

Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhyay — who is in Nepal to take part in an investment conference — said preparation was under way to ensure an early visit of the head of state.

According to him, the Nepali side had proposed March 19 to 23 for the president’s visit to India but the dates cannot be revised unless the visit is confirmed.

An official at the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu also said now it’s ‘not possible’ to conduct the visit in March due time constraints for the preparation.

A source in the Office of President told The Himalayan Times that dates of the visit were likely to be confirmed in a couple of days, as election campaigning in India’s most populous state of Uttar Pradesh came to an end this evening.

Since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy campaigning in UP, confirmation of the president’s visit was delayed, the source added.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had said President Bhandari would visit India in February. The visit didn’t materialise due to sudden announcement of elections in five Indian states, including Uttar Pradesh that borders Nepal.

President Bhandari’s scheduled visit to India in May 2016 was called off at the eleventh hour by the then KP Sharma Oli-led government.

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee came to Nepal on a three-day state visit in November. A reciprocal visit of Nepal’s head of state is expected before Mukherjee completes his five-year tenure in July.