Nepal will face greater pressure in the coming days to take sides as the Doklam standoff between India and China continues. Sources in Kathmandu indicated on Sunday that the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to Delhi is likely to highlight Nepal’s position on bilateral issues between India and China.
When asked about pressure on Nepal, a senior diplomatic source on Sunday said the “report of China’s outreach to Nepal to discuss important regional issues is true.” The apparent pressure on Kathmandu has added to the atmospherics around the planning of Mr. Deuba’s New Delhi visit.
The Nepali Prime Minister’s visit will be preceded by a visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who will visit Kathmandu to participate in the 15th meeting of foreign ministers of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) on August 10.
India has announced that the visit will have a bilateral component.
“Apart from multilateral meetings, the External Affairs Minister will hold bilateral meetings with other leaders,” MEA spokesperson Gopal Baglay had said at his weekly briefing last Friday.
However, between the bilateral visits of India and Nepal, Kathmandu will on August 14 host Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang.
Though diplomatic sources in Nepal indicated that the visit was routine, it is well known that Mr. Wang Yang has emerged as a South Asia expert in Beijing and has undertaken multiple trips to Nepal over the last two years.
“We will announce the date for Prime Minister Deuba’s visit to India immediately after the independence day celebrations in Delhi,” said a source from Kathmandu. It is learnt that Nepal is willing to send Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara immediately after Mr Deuba’s return from Delhi.