Nepal’s Foreign Minister visit to Delhi being finalised

It marks the highest level interaction since the Kalapani territorial dispute erupted

Published - January 04, 2021 11:08 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. File

Nepal Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. File

India and Nepal are finalising the visit of Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali to Delhi, a senior government official in Kathmandu has confirmed. Dr. Rajan Bhattarai, Foreign Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, confirmed that the final dates of the visit will soon be announced officially.

“Both sides are in talks and an official announcement about the exact date will be announced very soon. The visit is expected to take place earlier but was postponed. This will help relationship and will be good for both nations,” said Dr. Bhattarai.

Mr. Gyawali’s visit will mark the highest level interaction between the two sides since the Kalapani territorial dispute erupted in November 2019 which marred ties during most of the previous year. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Kathmandu on November 26-27 and held discussions with his counterpart Bharat Raj Poudyal and also met PM Oli.

The visit of Mr. Gyawali is however of greater importance as it will be interpreted in the context of the December 20 dissolution of the Lower House of Parliament by the Oli government which has drawn strong protest from the rival faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal. The ruling party of Nepal is at present divided along two factions with the Oli-led faction running the government while the Standing Committee of the party under the leadership of the rival side is challenging the ruling faction at the provincial level.

Mr. Gyawali, spokesperson of the Oli-led faction, is expected to brief Mr. Jaishankar about the situation that emerged after President B.D. Bhandari had dissolved the Pratinidhi Sabha following recommendation of the Oli-led Cabinet. Unconfirmed reports had earlier suggested that Mr. Gyawali will arrive for a two-day visit on January 14.

Sources in Nepal said the secrecy around the visit is because of the next hearing of the Supreme Court of Nepal which has taken up the writ petitions filed against the December 20 developments. A constitutional bench had earlier asked PM Oli’s faction to explain the reasons for the unexpected turn of events as the House was elected for a five-year term and had two more years to serve.

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