Recognising Nepal’s pluralist politics and society, President Pranab Mukherjee during his November 2 to 4 visit to the country will visit the Janaki temple, a major Hindu shrine in Janakpur which is an important city of Nepal’s Madhes region. Madhesi sources said that the visit to Madhes region is symbolic of India’s special ties with the plains of Nepal and will strengthen India’s commitment to Nepal’s diverse polity.
The visit to Janaki temple will take place on November 4 and will be followed by a civic reception by Madhesi leaders and people. “The visit is taking place after eighteen years and we want to showcase the special ties that President Mukherjee has with Nepal during the next three days,” said Upendra Yadav of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal.
The visit is significant as it is the first state visit from India after the months long blockade that began due to agitation for greater political space for the Madhesis of Nepal’s plains. The Prime Minister visited Nepal in 2014, however a Presidential visit did not take place in the last 18 years.
Starting the visit with ceremonial welcome at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, President Mukherjee will hold talks with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Prachanda.
Sources in the Madhesi morcha, the united front of political parties from the plains, said that President Mukherjee’s visit to Kathmandu and Janakpur will be utilised by the morcha to discuss ways to forge stronger ties between two sides. However Mr. Yadav said that some discussion on the proposed amendments to the Nepali constitution will be held with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar who is likely to accompany President Mukherjee.
The visit comes days after India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting took place in Delhi under the leadership of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Nepali counterpart Prakash Sharan Mahat. Following the Joint Commission meeting, MEA said that forward movement has taken place on “ongoing connectivity and post-earthquake assistance projects that are being reviewed at the highest level”.