Swaraj here to ‘meet friends’

Our relationship is of such a nature that we don’t need an excuse to visit each other

KATHMANDU: Visiting Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj today met CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli at Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza here during a dinner hosted in her honour by Oli on the first day of her two-day official visit to Nepal.

During the one-on-one meeting with Oli, Swaraj congratulated him on his party’s victory in the recent elections. The two held wide ranging discussions on ways to take the special relationship between India and Nepal forward, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

After the Oli-Swaraj meeting, UML leaders, including Oli, Subas Nembang, Ishwor Pokhrel, Pradip Gyawali, Rajan Bhattarai, Bishnu Rimal and Bishnu Paudel held a separate meeting with the visiting Indian delegation, including Swaraj, newly-appointed Foreign Secretary of India Vijay Keshav Gokhle and Spokesperson for Indian MEA Raveesh Kumar.

During the meeting, Swaraj expressed happiness over the successful completion of elections as per the democratic constitution, according to Paudel. “She added that India would cooperate with the new democratic government to be formed,” he said.

Oli, who is tipped to become the new prime minister, conveyed to the Indian delegation that Nepal’s priority was stability, development and good governance.

“Swaraj said we should take age-old Nepal-India ties to new heights through extensive cooperation,” said UML leader Bhattarai. “Swaraj said both the countries should take initiatives to alleviate poverty and ensure development and prosperity.”

Swaraj also held a meeting with leaders of Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal.

Swaraj, who landed at Tribhuvan International Airport at around 4:00 pm on a special Indian Air Force flight, is visiting Nepal for the seventh time since assuming office in May 2014. Indian MEA says her visit ‘is for affirming close bonds of friendship between our two countries’.

Minister of State for Finance Udaya Shumsher Rana and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed Swaraj at TIA. India’s Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri had also reached the airport to receive her.

Talking to mediapersons upon her arrival at the airport, the Indian minister said she did not have any agenda for the visit and that she was here to meet her friends. “Delighted to visit Nepal — India’s close friend. Our relationship is of such a nature that we don’t need an excuse to visit each other. My visit to Nepal is to meet friends from all political parties and strengthen India-Nepal friendship,” she said.

Just before Swaraj boarded the plane to Nepal in New Delhi, India’s MEA tweeted: “Continuing the tradition of regular high-level visits between two countries, EAM @SushmaSwaraj emplanes for Kathmandu on a 2-day visit to engage with the political leadership of Nepal to strengthen our unique relationship of friendship and cooperation.”

Tomorrow morning, Swaraj will hold a breakfast meeting with CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. She will then call on President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and have a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba before flying back to New Delhi at around 4:00pm.



Visiting Indian Minister Swaraj meets UML Chair Oli in KTM

KATHMANDU: CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli has met with visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at Soaltee Crowne Plaza on Thursday evening.

The meeting will be followed by a dinner reception hosted by UML in honour of Swaraj. Later, leaders of Madhesi parties will meet Swaraj at Soaltee, where she is residing.

Swaraj arrived in Kathmandu today and is scheduled to return tomorrow at 4:30 pm after meeting President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba separately.