Swaraj to visit Nepal on Thursday

Kathmandu, January 29

India’s Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj is arriving in Nepal on Thursday on a two-day visit, according to a press release issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

The release adds that the visit is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level political exchanges between India and Nepal.

According to sources, the Indian External Affairs Minister is scheduled to call on President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba before returning to New Delhi on Friday.

The key objective of Swaraj’s Nepal visit is to congratulate the Nepali political leadership on successfully holding three phases of elections — local-level, provincial and parliamentary — and extend good wishes to the new government to be formed, sources working backstage to organise the high-level visit said.

She will also meet CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, the prime minister-in-waiting, who on Saturday attended a cultural event at the Army Officers’ Club to mark India’s 69th Republic Day.

Also on the cards is her meeting with CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

The high-level visit from New Delhi on the eve of the formation of the new government in Nepal is expected to set the tone for high-level exchanges between the two governments.

Last week, in his second telephonic conversation with Oli after the completion of parliamentary elections, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the Indian government was ever ready for cooperation with the new government in the making. The UML-led left alliance, including the CPN-MC, has secured a comfortable majority in the parliamentary elections that concluded on December 7.

Nepal’s former ambassador to India Lok Raj Baral said Swaraj’s visit to Nepal could be a goodwill mission in accordance with India’s policy of maintaining harmonious relationship with friendly neighbouring countries.