Nepal PM attending Modi’s swearing-in ceremony

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala is leaving for New Delhi on Monday to attend the swearing-in ceremony of India’s Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi, according to a Nepali official.

A Cabinet meeting on Thursday decided to accept Mr. Modi’s invitation to Prime Minister Koirala (and other SAARC country heads of government or state) for the swearing-in ceremony to be held in New Delhi on Monday.

“We welcome any early contact with the new leadership of India at the highest level,” Dinesh Bhattarai, Prime Minister’s Foreign Policy Advisor told The Hindu. Mr. Bhattarai referred to a remark made by Nepal’s PM on May 8 in which Mr. Koirala had said his country would give priority to its neighbours. “It is noteworthy that India’s PM-elect has been generous in thinking of neighbours first.”

A minister told The Hindu that Mr. Koirala was scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Mr. Modi on Tuesday. “This has been confirmed,” he said, requesting he not be named.

With local reports stating that China was pushing for Mr. Koirala’s visit to the northern neighbour, the invitation from Mr. Modi comes in handy. Nepal’s prime ministers’ first visit to neighbouring countries after getting elected, tends to assume added significance. By convention, the first official visit is almost always to India.

Republica daily reported on Thursday that some leaders of the Nepali Congress suggested that some senior leader from the party should attend instead of Prime Minister Koirala. The unease was increased with reports that the Bangladeshi PM was not attending the swearing-in of Mr. Modi. However, with news about Presidents of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka accepting the invitation, the decision became easy for the Cabinet.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2021 6:04:12 PM |

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