Indian foreign secretary arrives in Kathmandu on a two-day visitNepal and India are close friends and meetings will focus on how to take the friendship forward, Shringla says upon his arrival.
Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday morning on a two-day visit.
Officials from both sides have said that all bilateral issues ranging from economic cooperation to border dispute, submission of the report of the Eminent Persons’ Group on Nepal-India relations and projects related to connectivity and cooperation in various fields including supply of Covid-19 vaccine to Nepal among others are high on agenda.
“India and Nepal are close friends,” Shringla told reporters upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport. “There are meetings lined up and we will discuss how we can take this close friendship forward.”
During his stay in Kathmandu, Shringla will call on President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali among others.
He will also meet with the leader of the opposition party, Sher Bahadur Deuba.
He is scheduled to deliver a lecture on Nepal-India relations at Hotel Soaltee on Friday before wrapping up his Nepal visit.
The Indian foreign secretary will also inaugurate two projects funded by the government of India in Kathmandu and Gorkha.
This is Shringla's first visit to Nepal after assuming office as India’s foreign secretary.
Kathmandu and New Delhi officially announced his visit to Nepal on Monday.
“The visit is in continuation of the regular exchange of high level visits between the two friendly neighbours,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement while announcing Shringla’s visit.
Similarly, India’s Ministry of External Affairs also said the Shringla’s visit “is in keeping with the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and the priority India attaches to its relations with Nepal.”
Shringla’s visit to Nepal follows two recent high-level visits from India–by Indian Army chief Manoj Mukunda Naravane earlier this month and Samant Goel, chief of India’s external intelligence agency in the third week of October.
After months-long pause in bilateral visits and dialogue in the wake of souring tensions between Nepal and India especially over the boundary issues, there are some growing signs of rapprochement between the two countries.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Shringla will start his engagements in Nepal by holding a meeting with Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal.
Officials and observers have said Shringla’s visit will add new vigour to Nepal-India relations and help bring the bilateral ties back on track.
“Basically, the Indian foreign secretary’s visit has two dimensions,” Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali told the Post earlier this week. “It will pave the way for more high-level visits and exchanges and set the basis for those upcoming high-level engagements.”