Prez on ‘special goodwill’ India visitPresident Bidya Devi Bhandari’s state visit to India beginning on Monday is a special goodwill visit, which, officials of both countries say, will help strengthen bilateral ties further.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s state visit to India beginning on Monday is a special goodwill visit, which, officials of both countries say, will help strengthen bilateral ties further.
Officials said on Sunday there would be no agreements or signing of memoranda of understanding during the trip but the occasion will be used to speed up implementation of the ongoing bilateral trade, connectivity and development projects.
India has said that the visit should be seen in the context of intensive engagements between the two neighbours in recent months.
In the past six months, there have been four visits between the two countries by the heads of state and the head of government. Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal visited India two times, in September and October.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee came to Kathmandu in the first week of November. In the period, there were 13 ministerial-level bilateral talks.
“This is the fourth high-level visit in the last six months, which is fairly unprecedented,” said Joint-secretary at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Sudhakar Dalela, who is in charge of the Nepal-Bhutan desk.
Addressing a press conference organised to disseminate information on the visit of President Bhandari, he said the tour will provide an excellent opportunity to review the wide-ranging partnership with Nepal.
“We are confident that the visit will further consolidate multi-faceted bilateral ties,” said Dalela, highlighting the progress made in implementation of bilateral projects in the half-year period.
President Bhandari is visiting India at a time when the Madhes-based parties have announced protests against the local elections scheduled for May 14.
Asked about the possibility of this issue figuring at the highest level of interaction during the presidential visit, Dalela said there would be discussions on all bilateral issues.
He reiterated India’s position that “it is supportive of the Nepal government’s efforts to accommodate all sections of society in the constitution implementation process.”
According to the Nepali Embassy, President Bhandari will hold an interaction with the Nepali community in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.
Hari Odari, spokesperson for the Nepal Embassy in New Delhi, said the embassy has completed all the preparations for the visit.
The main bilateral meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday when Bhandari will hold talks with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj will also call on the President.
President Bhandari leads a 33-member delegation to India. Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Sita Devi Yadav will accompany her.
One of the President’s daughters, five female parliamentarians, two former lawmakers, senior officials and security officers are included in the team.
Reaches New Delhi
Interaction with the Nepali community
Attending dinner organised by the Nepali ambassador to India
Meeting with the Indian president
Meeting with the Indian prime minister
Indian ministers on call on President Bhandari
Interaction with the business community
Visits to various religious places in Gujarat and Odisha. Observation of women empowerment and environment protection projects there
Returns to Nepal
The Tribhuvan International Airport has declared a 35-minute flight restriction between 10:30am and 11:05am on Monday for the security of the outgoing President.
The airport authority has issued a “notice to airmen” regarding the VVIP movement.
TIA Spokesman Prem Nath Thakur said the flight curbs would affect Lukla and mountain flights. “However, it will not affect international airlines much.”
Lukla has lately been recording more than 60 flights daily, in the midst of the trekking and mountaineering season.
Holidays on Monday, Saturday
The government has announced public holidays on April 17 and April 22 on the starting and closing days of the President’s visit.
A Cabinet meeting took the decision on Sunday even as the head of state had advised the government not to declare holidays for her visit.
The government’s decision was greeted with outrage on the social media sites.
CPN-UML lawmaker Rabindra Adhikari tweeted that announcing the holidays was not an honour. “The holidays are not going to help anyone.” (PR)