PM consults predecessors on India visit

Kathmandu, April 4

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today held consultation with former prime ministers on his upcoming state visit to India slated for April 6 to 8.

During the meeting at his official residence in Baluwatar, PM Oli said the goodwill visit to India would focus on strengthening bilateral relations and discussions would be held keeping in mind national interest.

“No agreements will be signed during this visit. No activities will be carried out against national interest. Implementation of past agreements will be stressed,” said PM Oli, who is paying a state visit to India at the invitation of Indian PM Narendra Modi. He added that his visit would play a crucial role in further strengthening Nepal-India bilateral relations.

The meeting was attended by former prime ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Lokendra Bahadur Chand and former chairman of the Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi. Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, members of Eminent Persons Group on Nepal-India Relations Bhesh Bahadur Thapa, Nilambar Acharya and Suryanath Upadhyay were also present.

The former prime ministers wished PM Oli a successful visit and suggested that the conventional mindset should be dropped while pursuing international relations in this globalised world.

Former PM Dahal said Nepal-India relations, which had faced some difficulties after promulgation of the new constitution of Nepal and the border blockade, were now improving. “We should convey to India that there is no problem in Nepal as the constitution was being enforced,” he said.

Former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal suggested that Prime Minister Oli stand firm on his stance. “There should not be brotherly, but friendly Nepal-India relations,” he said.

Former prime minister Deuba said PM Oli should focus on reducing the huge trade deficit between Nepal and India.

During his three-day India visit, Oli will hold delegation-level and personal-level talks with Indian PM Modi. He will also pay courtesy calls on Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice-president M Venkaiah Naidu, besides holding meetings with Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and other ministers and high-level officials. He is also scheduled to hold separate interactions with the Indian business community, Nepali community in New Delhi and the intellectual class.

Besides official engagements in New Delhi, PM Oli will also attend a programme at GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology at Pantnagar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

Addressing the Parliament yesterday, PM Oli had said the starting point of Nepal’s foreign and neighbourhood policy was ‘friendship’, and his India visit was part of the government’s endeavour to make neighbouring countries partners in Nepal’s development drive.

“To realise our national goals of development and prosperity, we’ll maintain harmonious, balanced and friendly relations with our neighbours based on mutual benefit, mutual respect, equality, non-interference, UN charters, principles of non-aligned movement and the five principles of peaceful coexistence,” said PM Oli.