PM kicks off India visit, meeting with Modi today

Kathmandu, February 19

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today started his six-day state visit to India with the aim of mending ties that had ebbed since the promulgation of Nepal’s constitution in September 2015.

This is his maiden foreign trip after being elected the country’s executive chief in October last year. Oli is scheduled to return home on February 24.

With around 100 members in his entourage comprising government officials, personal aides, lawmakers, mediapersons and business representatives Oli had touched down at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on a regular Nepal Airlines’ flight at 4:45pm.

He was received by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Nepal’s Ambassador to India Deep Kumar Upadhayay at IGIA.

Oli, along with his wife Radhika Shakya, some accompanying ministers, bureaucrats as well as advisers, are staying at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi as state guests, while the others have been kept in hotels.

He will meet with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi tomorrow. This meeting will delve into ways to repair ties and strengthen cooperation in multiple sectors between the two countries, the PM’s Chief Adviser Bishnu Rimal told The Himalayan Times.

The Prime Minister will also call on Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan the same day.

Prior to his departure, Oli said at Tribhuvan International Airport, that his visit would help clear the misunderstandings between the two neighbours, and take relations to a new height. Ministers, senior bureaucrats, chiefs of security bodies had seen him off at TIA.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa, Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel, Home Minister Shakti Basnet and the PM’s chief Adviser Bishnu Rimal are accompanying him. Likewise, Chief Executive Officer of National Reconstruction Authority Sushil Gyawali and Chief Secretary Som Lal Subedi are also part of the entourage.

Among 14 parliamentarians selected to be part of the PM’s team, four lawmakers didn’t participate. They are Sujata Koirala and Purna Bahadur Khadka of the main opposition Nepali Congress, Sivaji Rai Yadav of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and Dimple Jha of Nepal Sadbhawana Party.

After landing at IGIA,Oli directly proceeded to Rashtrapati Bhawan, where he will be staying for four days before leaving for Bhuj of Gujarat for an observation trip of the post-quake reconstruction work, on Tuesday.

Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him at the Rashtrapati Bhawan and briefed about his programme.

In the evening, Oli attended a reception hosted by Nepal’s Ambassador Upadhayay to mark the 66th National Democracy Day of Nepal at the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi. Senior Indian political leaders as well as government officials were present at the function.

The Office of President assigned Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Physical Planning and Transport Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar as Acting PM in Oli’s absence.