My India visit won’t touch controversial issues: President

Kathmandu, May 4

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today said she was embarking for India on her maiden foreign visit next week, which would focus on promoting goodwill and strengthening bilateral ties.

The Head of State is scheduled to leave for New Delhi at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee on May 9. However, the Cabinet has not formally decided about her visit yet.

“This is basically a goodwill visit and will focus to strengthen bilateral relations,” President Bhandari told diplomatic correspondents at Shital Niwas.

The president, who will be staying at Rastrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, is set to hold talks with her counterpart Mukherjee and meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 10.

Senior ministers, including External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and leaders of various political parties will also call on her.

The head of state said her discussions wouldn’t touch any controversial issue. She also said her visit would try to clear all misunderstandings.

Bhandari said she wanted to welcome President Mukherjee in Nepal before her visit to the southern neighbour, but she received the message that the Indian president would be visiting Nepal later.

Meanwhile, the president’s foreign affairs expert Madan Kumar Bhattarai implied that the president would leave for India whether or not there were any changes in the political equation.

“The president is above the government,” Bhattarai said. “As of today, there is no possibility of changing her visit.”

From New Delhi, President Bhandari will head for Ujjain of Madhya Pradesh, where she will observe the month-long Simhastha Kumbh Mela on May 12.